Purpose: The business excellence awards have now evolved from a narrow focus of quality management to a broad focus on organizational performance. The UAE has given significant focus to performance excellence through its various programs such as the Dubai Government Excellence Programs, Dubai Quality Award and Sheikh Khalifa Excellence Award. However, there is limited research on the experiences of award-winning organizations. In the UAE, we believe that the implementation steps for the business excellence could show some specific activities & practices due to a different power distance leadership culture, context culture - where UAE should belong to the high power distance leadership culture and high context culture - and the multinational mix of the employees. Thus the objectives of this study were to explore the activities that award-winning organizations adopted on embarking upon the journey of excellence. Methodology: A questionnaire survey was used to gather the data. A total of 110 participants from 36 organizations participated in this survey. Survey used open questions to extract the experiences of the award winning organizations. The questionnaire analysis mainly included qualitative and qualitative methods. In the qualitative non-formal method, through the reading of the answers, repeating actions were noted. In the qualitative analysis the practices that were most important for organizations to observe were analysed. Findings: This research extracted the activities that the organizations can follow on their journey towards business excellence. It is notable that organizations opting for the business excellence model have previously introduced other improvement programs and systems such as ISO standards. Further, the business excellence model has proven to be an effective tool for comparison and benchmarking purposes between the organizations. Leadership indeed is an important driving force of quality improvement and for the effective implementation of a business excellence model. However, there is no evidence of different practices & steps which would strongly differ from the activities spread across other countries. An in-depth qualitative study is needed to explore the context further to propose context specific actions. Originality: This research makes an original contribution by adopting an empirical method to study the actions and practices that the UAE organizations have taken on their journey of excellence. It proposes a model that can be used by the organizations to embark upon their excellence journey. They represent a solid starting point for aspiring organizations.