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The Greater Rochester Quality Council (GRQC), an affiliate of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, is pleased to announce the 2024 Performance Excellence Awards.. The GRQC Performance Excellence Award Program helps organizations in all sectors of the economy gain valuable insights into strategic areas of their operations, connect with like-minded leaders in high-performing organizations, and earn formal recognition for achieving excellence through continuous improvement methodologies.

Go directly to the Applications by clicking the "Applications and How To Apply" menu button on the left.  Applications will be accepted through June 24, 2024.


  • Team Excellence

  • Organizational Excellence

  • Customer Experience

Most applicants earn awards at the Gold, Silver, Bronze levels in the category for which they apply.

GRQC reserves a special award, the George Hansen Award for Exemplary Performance, for select applicants that exceed the gold level; an accomplishment resulting from a site visit that uncovers both results and practices that clearly exceed the gold level expectations.

The Pathfinder Award is given when an applicant is in the early stages of a quality journey and demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement and performance excellence.


Team Excellence Award

  • The GRQC Team Excellence Award focuses on how people worked on a team to deliver results. Teams are formed for specific reasons: to solve problems, improve processes, complete projects, or address specific business issues. They work towards a shared, pre-defined goal. The team’s scope may be limited to a single area; or may be cross-functional, impacting multiple departments, people and/or processes.

  • GRQC seeks to understand how the team was formed and led; and the tools and methods used to successfully achieve the team’s goals. Methodologies may include, but are not be limited to: Lean, Six Sigma, Project Management, Agile or others. GRQC looks for best practices and how team members collaborate to deliver results.

  • The Team Excellence Award criteria consist of questions that help an applicant and GRQC’s reviewers identify strengths and opportunities for improvement. GRQC does not tell an organization how to lead, structure or manage its teams. The applicant completes a written application, hosts a site visit, and receives an objective feedback report after the awards presentation.

  • Applicants describe the team’s goals, methods (e.g., Lean, Six Sigma, project management, Agile, etc.) and results in a written application. Applicants receive recognition based on the approach, deployment and results. GRQC encourages the use of innovative team and project management methods that have been shown to deliver better results.

  • If your organization uses teams to solve problems, drive continuous improvement, or complete major projects, this award is a great way to recognize a specific team and receive feedback on how to create high-performing teams going forward.


Organizational Excellence Award

  • The GRQC Organizational Excellence Award is modeled on the Malcolm Baldrige Excellence Framework; a proven method for evaluating any organization’s leadership and management systems, and the results that follow. This is a holistic view of the organization.

  • GRQC looks for best practices and how an organization works to advance its vision and mission. The Organizational Excellence Award criteria are grouped into seven categories representing key areas: (1) Leadership; (2) Strategy; (3) Customers; (4) Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management; (5) Workforce; (6) Operations; (7) Results. The applicant answers questions in each category. Instructions are contained in the application document.

  • Similar to the Baldrige model, but simpler in both time and effort required to apply, this award is non-prescriptive. GRQC will not prescribe how to lead or manage an organization. The application and a formal assessment process are used to determine levels of recognition. The applicant completes a written application, hosts a site visit, and receives an objective feedback report after the awards presentation.

  • GRQC encourages the use of innovative approaches and continuous improvement tools/methods that have been shown to deliver better results. Applicants describe what works for them (e.g., Lean, Six Sigma, International Organization for Standardization [ISO], balanced scorecard, Plan-Do-Check-Act [PDCA], project management, Agile, etc.) and which are most effective in driving continuous improvements and sustainable performance.

  • If you are ready to reflect and learn how your organization is operating as a whole, this award is a great choice.


Customer Experience Award

  • Customers are any people served by an organization such as: business customers, patients, residents, students, constituents, clients, etc.

  • Satisfying customers doesn’t guarantee success. Customers have more choices than ever and most can go elsewhere if their needs and wants are not met every time. High-performing organizations understand this and strive for continuous improvement. They go beyond satisfaction to build brand and customer loyalty.

  • The GRQC Customer Experience Award recognizes organizations with a customer-first mindset. These applicants develop a strategy, put it into action, measure success and manage their customer loyalty results using data and analysis to continuously listen to voice of the customers and turn customer experiences into a competitive advantage.

  • The Customer Experience Award consists of seven categories with questions to understand an applicant’s customer-focused strategy, methods for gathering voice of customer, measurement and feedback system, implementation, customer-focused culture, and results. The applicant completes a written application, hosts a site visit, and receives an objective feedback report after the awards presentation.

  • If your organization seeks recognition and insights for delivering great customer service and experiences, this award is the right fit for you.


The Performance Excellence awards are open to small, medium and large organizations in the following economic sectors: business, non-profit, healthcare, education and government.

Organizations eligible to apply are any of the following: an entire enterprise; a subsidiary or business unit; a department within an organization that has a high degree of authority to set departmental goals, shape and implement strategy, influence culture, deploy plans and achieve stand-alone results.

Organizations in the greater Rochester and Finger Lakes regions are invited to apply. Applications from organizations in other parts of Western NY (e.g.: Syracuse, Buffalo) are also encouraged.

Organizations can submit multiple applications, and in multiple categories. Receive recognition for each application based on the award category criteria.


  • You can measure performance against proven, objective criteria for excellence.

  • You’ll receive objective, actionable written feedback from experienced, independent professionals. The value of the site visit and feedback report is priceless; one that would cost thousands if commissioned through a consulting firm.

  • Recognize the great work your people do to deliver better results; apply teamwork to solve problems and improve processes; and build greater customer loyalty.

  • Celebrate and showcase your success with others in the greater Rochester community.

  • Network, connect and build new relationships with high performing organizations at the GRQC Awards & Showcase event.



  • Decide for which award category or categories the organization would like to apply.  Select the corresponding award applications template below.  Complete the template and email submission to by 06/24/2024.

  • Award Criteria emphasize results achieved and the use of performance improvement tools and practices to achieve the results (e.g. continuous quality improvement, project leadership, lean, six sigma, customer focus, cross-functional teamwork, etc.)  There is an emphasis to keep applications simple and to utilize data and other information that is readily available in the applying organization.


Evaluation of Application

  • A GRQC review team, including experienced Malcolm Baldrige examiners and past Empire State Advantage and Partners in Performance Excellence examiners, will evaluate each application using a simplified version of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award scoring guidelines.

  • Organizations meeting the qualifications will receive a 2-to-3-hour site or virtual visit by 2-3 members of the review team between June and August.  The primary objectives are to corroborate the information submitted, resolve any questions about the information in the application, and make on-site observations.

  • The review team will use the Scoring Guidelines and score the applications after the site visits.

  • Feedback will be provided to each applicant.


Download overview documents

Application deadline extended to June 24, 2024!!

Team Excellence Overview

Organizational Excellence Overview

Customer Experience Overview

Download applications

Team Excellence Application

Organizational Excellence


Customer Experience Application


  • Awards will be presented at the Annual GRQC Showcase and Awards event during October's National Quality Month.  More details on the event to come. 

  • Each finalist will be asked to have a display table during the informal networking session that precedes the formal program.

  • Award recipients in each category will be announced during the formal program portion of the evening.

  • In lieu of an application fee, the finalists are asked to purchase a table for employees and guests to attend and celebrate their acceptance of Awards.

  • Each award recipient will be recognized on the GRQC and Chamber websites and through media press releases.



Information about sponsorship opportunities will be available soon.


For questions about the criteria or application elements, please contact Anne McNelis, GRQC Board Member, by email at

Greater Rochester Quality Council events, programs and initiatives are supported in part by the Greater Rochester Chamber Foundation.

- Team Excellence
- Organizational Excellence
- Customer Experience
Applications and How To Apply
Awards Event Details
Contact Us
Who Should Apply
Why Apply
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