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Friday, June 30, 2006

Ready for Q3?

April, May and June have flown by a-- nd Q2 ends today.

Did you meet your quarterly goals? And are you on track to meet your annual goals?

James Sagar over at Marketing M.O. provides a great list of things to do (even if you're not in marketing!)

BOTTOMLINE: If you were working from an Individual Plan (IP) as described in Discipline IV. Work the Plan, you'd know exactly where you were toward meeting your goals.

Creating An Engaged Workforce

Accenture (the large management consulting firm), revealed in a recent survey of business executives, that 72 percent of these leaders consider employee engagement to be critically important to the competitive success of their companies.

Accenture's research found that workforce engagement can be measured using the following characteristics:
  • Satisfaction
  • Understanding
  • Contribution
  • Alignment
  • Retention
Accenture also found the following 10 approaches to be effective for improving employee engagement:

  1. Rewards and Recognition
  2. Human Capital Infrastructure
  3. Learning Management
  4. Knowledge Management
  5. Performance Appraisal
  6. Workplace Design
  7. Employee Relations
  8. Career Development
  9. Human capital strategy
  10. Recruiting

BOTTOMLINE: Small businesses can create an engaged workforce -- in fact, small businesses have a distinct advantage over much larger businesses to do so. Many of these approaches for e effective for improving employee engagement are part of the Six Disciplines Methodology.

How To Think About Performance Appraisals

Employee reviews, performance appraisals...they're enough to raise the hair on the back of your neck...unless...

While I didn't meet John Porcaro while I worked at Microsoft, here he offers his 15-year Microsoft-centric view on approaching reviews (from his own perspective):
  1. Take time to reflect
  2. Think of your review as a living resume
  3. Be thorough
  4. Go with metrics
  5. Make it about YOU
  6. Don’t worry too much about missing an agreed-upon deadline
  7. Don’t forget the “extra credit.”
  8. If there’s something negative to say, bring it up yourself
  9. Sometimes mistakes can be the best thing
  10. Realize that half the equation is perception
  11. Don’t sweat the review
  12. Ask your manager to edit some of their negative comments
  13. Don’t put it off until the last minute
BOTTOMLINE: What used an intuitive Internet-based tool (every day) that made the entire process of doing weekly status reports, monthly performance updates, and annual performance appraisals -- a "no-brainer"? The Six Disciplines People Suite offers small businesses a practical way to approach this important HR activity.

(Thanks to Max at SuccessFactors for the tip)

Decker Marketing Reviews "Six Disciplines for Excellence"

In his review, "Six Disciplines for Excellence -- Strategic Prioritization, "Sam Decker, blogger of Decker Marketing, singles out the implementation focus of Six Disciplines:

"Here’s what differentiates this book: it bridges concept and principles to execution.

Most books focus 80% on principles and 20% on implementation. This book is 80% implementation."

BOTTOMLINE: Sam sums up his review: "For pragmatists and those who love execution, I give this book a strong recommend. Buy Six Disciplines of Excellence."

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

More On Management Fads

FastCompany is looking into the reasons why management trends (fads, new ideas) don't last long.

Their assessment?

  • Consultants offer services in which they lack expertise
  • New ideas come and go faster and faster
  • People try to apply the same idea to too many dissimilar problems
  • New practices and processes don't work for every organization
Take the FastCompany poll here.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Leadership Pitfalls

The Top 10 Leadership Pitfalls revealed in a recent survey by Quality Digest:

  • 35% - Past and habits
  • 29% - Economic climate or budget
  • 23% - Company culture
  • 20% - Way they work together
  • 18% - Senior management team
  • 18% - Customers
  • 14% - CEO/president lack of confidence
  • 13% - Technology
  • 11% - Middle management
  • 9% - Reputation
  • 7% - Human resource management or employees

BOTTOMLINE: Respondents also indicated that the most important things to ensure successful strategy execution include:

  • Creating a clear strategy
  • Adding a specific plan
  • Communicating what the plan is
  • Rewarding employees for following the plan
  • Continuing employee communication

However, even when companies do the alignment process well, their past and culture can derail execution, as the alignment of people and strategy isn’t enough for long-term success.

High-Performance Workforce Research

Accenture just released its latest findings on the High Performance Workforce. The research, Accenture High Performance Workforce Study, is conducted approximately every 18 months to measure workforce management trends among executives in large corporations in the United States, Europe and Australia.

Among the most recent research findings:

  • Only 20% of respondents said the vast majority of their employees understand their companies’ strategy and what’s needed to be successful in their industry.
  • Just one in 10 respondents reported being very satisfied with the performance of his or her human resources (HR) and training functions (11 percent and 10 percent, respectively.)
  • 42% of respondents described capturing and sharing knowledge as a challenge or a severe challenge for their companies.
  • 60% of respondents reported that, over the next five years, they expect to begin feeling the impact of the aging workforce and the impending retirement of baby boomers.

BOTTOMLINE: “A company’s ability to manage its workforce strategically and develop its capabilities will set it apart from its competitors. Some companies focus well on one or two aspects of human capital management, such as learning or internal communications, but the best take a broad view of managing their workforce. These are the companies that vastly increase their chances of being industry leaders.”

Monday, June 26, 2006

The World Cup of Leadership

The World Cup is perhaps the greatest sporting event in the world, and truly a global championship. Every four years, after exhaustive qualifying rounds, the top 32 nations in the world compete against each other for the right to be called world champions for the coming four years.

Every match matters. Every win and loss counts towards becoming a true world champion. The team that wins will have some great players, but the team with all the best players does not always win.

As in business, great leaders know these six rules:


Read the entire article here.

Leadership Lessons from Jack Welch

Leadership lessons from Jack Welch (former CEO of General Electric)

(Thanks to Phil at Make it Great for the tip, and to George Amber at the Practice of Leadership)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Vision, World-Class Organizations, and Six Disciplines

According to thought-leader Ken Blanchard, all world-class organizations are driven by three critical factors:

  1. Clear vision and direction championed by top management
  2. Trained and equipped people focused on implementation of the agreed-upon vision and direction
  3. Established recognition and positive consequence systems that sustain the behaviors and performance that the vision and direction require
BOTTOMLINE: If you map the Six Disciplines Methodology to these three factors of world class organizations, you'll find very similar views:

  1. Clear vision (Discipline I-D Renew The Vision) and direction championed by top management (Discipline II - Set Goals That Lead)
  2. Trained and equipped people (Discipline II-D Engage The Team) focused on implementation (Discipline IV - Work The Plan) of the agreed-upon vision and direction (Discipline III-F Align People)
  3. Established recognition and positive consequence systems (Discipline V-D Recognize Contribution) that sustain the behaviors and performance that the vision and direction require

SMB Trend Wire: Podcast About Six Disciplines

Anita Campbell, the Visionary, TrendSpotter, Futurist, and Editor of Small Business Trends E’Zine, Small Biz Advisor - along with Steve Rucinski of Small Business CEO fame, get together on SMB TrendWire for a podcast interview with Six Disciplines CEO and founder, Gary Harpst.

According to Anita:

“If you have a chance to listen to only one small business podcast, you definitely want to listen to Gary Harpst.

There is nothing like Six Disciplines and I guarantee you will get a tremendous amount out of his talk."

BOTTOMLINE: Listen to the very insightful interview here.

Small Business CEO: "There is Always Waste, Find it Now!"

"There's more wasted activity in your organization than you imagine."

These jarring words are part of the advice Gary Harpst received from another CEO that eventually prompted him to found Six Disciplines Corporation.

According to the Steve at Small Busines CEO:

"Six Disciplines is unlike anything I've seen for small businesses.

It's a book.

It's a methodology.

It's technology.

It's a coaching system.

It's something you'll be hearing a lot more about."

BOTTOMLINE: Listen to the entire interview on Small Business CEO: "There is Always Waste, Find it Now!"

Top Ten Innovation Killers

Discipline V. Innovate Purposefully, is unlike the other five Disciplines, because it primarily provides principles and tools that are used in day-to-day execution of the steps in the other disciplines. Innovating a mindset that permeates the culture of an excellent organization." (page 180)

A recent Harvard eLearning Alert stated “70% of all business initiatives fail.”

Joyce Wycoff articulates the Top 10 Reasons for Innovation Failure:

  1. Not creating a culture that supports innovation
  2. Not getting buy-in and ownership from business unit managers
  3. Not having a widely understood, system-wide process
  4. Not allocating resources to the process
  5. Not tying projects to company strategy
  6. Not spending enough time and energy on the fuzzy front-end
  7. Not building sufficient diversity into the process
  8. Not developing criteria and metrics in advance
  9. Not training and coaching innovation teams
  10. Not having an idea management system

BOTTOMLINE: While it's probably impossible to compute the exact percentage of business initiatives that fail, it is widely acknowledged that most do. After years of research and observation, it is clear that the same reasons for any change initiative failure tend to be the same culprits that make innovation initiatives fail.

Six Disciplines Leadership Center of Central Indiana Names GM

Six Disciplines Corporation today announced that it has named Chip McLean to take the leadership role of General Manager and owner with the newly added franchise of Six Disciplines Leadership Center of Central Indiana, located in Indianapolis.

The Six Disciplines Leadership Center of Central Indiana will service clients in the greater Indianapolis area, extending to the East and West state borders, North to Marion and South to Seymour, Indiana.

The Six Disciplines Leadership Center of Central Indiana is scheduled to be operational in June of 2006. For more information, contact Chip McLean at 317.691.3169 or email Visit the Six Disciplines Leadership Center of Central Indiana on the web at

Read the entire release here.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Advantages of Small Businesses

Compared to small businesses, large corporations have more money, name recognition and benefits to attract the best and brightest employees. But bigger doesn't always mean better. And small-business owners smart enough to lure them are finding hires eager to help them build their companies.

What are the advantages? Here are lures that are working for small business owners:

  • The chance to make a difference
  • The freedom to make decisions
  • The sense of teamwork and camaraderie
  • The flexibility to balance work and life
  • The room to grow

Check out the rest of this June 2006 article from

Leadership in Sports: Pat Riley

For Pat Riley, head coach of the World Champion Miami Heat, the NBA championship is a promise fulfilled from 11 years ago to Miami Heat fans. He now has a championship ring for all the fingers on hand; the third-most among NBA coaches.

In the waning moments of difficult games, the Heat seemed to indeed get stronger and summon the very best from all their players. The Heat went on to win three more (four consecutive NBA Finals games), becoming only the third team in league history to win despite an 0-2 deficit.

Read more about this "master of motivation" here.

Dealing With Poor Performance

According to a survey by Sirota Survey Intelligence, a company’s failure to deal effectively with its few workers who are consistently poor performers may decrease the extent to which other employees are engaged in their jobs and their companies.

Key findings:
  • Only two out of five employees (slightly more so for management) who feel their companies are doing much too little to correct poor employee performance are favorably engaged at work.
  • 33% of management and 43%of non-management employees think their companies are not doing enough to deal with poor performers.
  • A very small percentage of employees at a typical workplace – usually around only 5% – are ‘allergic to work,’ and do as little work as they possibly can.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Strategic Planning and the Learning Organization

Harvard Business review's excerpt of "The Origin of Wealth, Eric D. Beinhocker" reveals a radical new of economics as a highly dynamic and evolving system with implications for companies and organizations everywhere.

His assertions?

  • Rather than thinking of strategy as a single plan built on predictions of the future, we should think of strategy as a portfolio of experiments, a population of competing Business Plans that evolves over time.

There are some general lessons that can be learned from a portfolio-of-experiments approach to strategy.

  1. Management needs to create a context for strategy. Constructing a portfolio of experiments requires a collective understanding of the current situation and shared aspirations among the management team.
  2. Management needs a process for differentiating Business Plans that results in a portfolio of diverse Plans.
  3. The organization needs to create a selection environment that mirrors the environment in the market. Fourth and finally, processes need to be established that enable the amplification of successful Business Plans and the elimination of unsuccessful Plans.

This shift in perspective implies a major redesign of the strategic planning process:

  • First, the process should be focused on structuring in-depth discussion and debate among principal decision makers.
  • Second, the process must be fueled by facts and analysis
  • Third, there must be other forums clearly designated for decision making.

BOTTOMLINE: "If the strategy process becomes overburdened with near-term decisions on budgets, setting targets, and allocating capital, then learning goes out the window. The decision-making forums should be linked to, but separate from, the strategic learning process. Again, the focus of the strategy forum should be setting context to inform the design and management of the portfolio of experiments."

Monday, June 19, 2006

Leadership Challenges

Management-Issues published a study of more than 1,400 leaders and managers by global consultancy the Ken Blanchard Group, which revealed the following:

  • 41% felt inappropriate use of communication or listening was the biggest mistake leaders made when working with others.
  • More than 25% felt the major failing was in under or over-supervising people, providing a lack of, or too much, direction and delegating, either too little or too much.
  • A lack of management skills was cited by 14%.
  • A lack of or inappropriate support by 12%.
  • A lack of accountability by 5%.

  • 43% cited the most critical skill a leader could possess was communicating and listening (followed by effective management skills, emotional intelligence and empathy, values and integrity, vision and empowerment.)
  • A whopping 82% said that of the top five things leaders and managers failed to do when working with others, the one that came up the most was not providing appropriate feedback.
  • 81% said failing to listen or involve others in the process was nearly as big a failing.
  • 76% felt leaders failed to set clear goals and objectives

BOTTOMLINE: "It seems that many leaders out there do not have even the most basic, critical leadership skills they need to do their job properly and this is bad news for business. We all know leaders hold the key to organizational success. Bad leadership leads, ultimately, to low organizational vitality, high staff turnover and poor customer loyalty."

Friday, June 16, 2006

Father's Day Advice has a great article exposing business advice from a father.....just in time to celebrate Father's Day:

"Here are the most valuable business lessons he taught me:"

  • Pay your dues. He instilled in me a strong work ethic that has served me well in my career. His father used to have a sign on his desk that read: "The harder I work, the luckier I get!"
  • Do work you enjoy . If you love what you do, it doesn't feel like work.
  • Walk and talk. Being accessible and approachable is important if you want a culture where people can admit they don't have all the answers and need help in a certain area.
  • Lead by example. Never ask people to do things you wouldn't do yourself.
  • Share success. When good things happen, make sure everyone who contributed is acknowledged and rewarded, not just the people at the top.
  • Give back. Be active in your community.
  • Stay positive. My dad is one of the most upbeat and optimistic people I've ever met. He has a great attitude and people love being around him. I think it makes them feel better about themselves. He always has a kind word or encouragement and smiles a lot. There's something very magnetic about people who exude happiness.

Happy Father's Day!

Six Essential Roles of the CEO

Vistage speaker Lawrence King offers his take on the six essential roles of the CEO:

  1. Co-Strategist. First and foremost, key executives must contribute to the development of strategy. They must use the knowledge and information they gain from their critical vantage points to help set the future direction of the company.
  2. Team leader. Like the CEO, key executives must make the difficult transition from functional expert to leader. “They may go kicking and screaming,” notes King, “but you must drag them out of their familiar, comfortable, functional roles and into this new, ambiguous and demanding role of team leader.”
  3. Content expert. In their specific areas of knowledge or expertise, key executives need to bring global best practices to bear on the current, everyday practices of the company.
  4. Champion of change. Key executives need to beat the drum, wave the flag and point their people in the right direction, while constantly reinforcing the vision of why the company must go forward.
  5. Role model. Key executives must march shoulder-to-shoulder with the CEO, actually living the values that are spoken for the company.
  6. Student. As with the CEO, key executives must engage in continued professional development, but as students of leadership, not of the technical/functional turf they manage within the organization.

Finding and Keeping The Right People

According to a recent survey by Right Management, the most common mistake organizations make when hiring or promoting managers and executives is failing to define and assess those roles most crucial to successful performance.

  • 43% of companies cited inadequate definition and evaluation of roles critical to successful performance as the number one mistake businesses make in hiring and promoting managers and executives.
  • 41% cited insufficient grooming of high-potential employees through coaching, mentoring and training programs.
  • 29% cited using overly subjective criteria and unreliable assessment tools.
  • 27% cited too much focus on the basic requirements of the jobs to which people are being hired or promoted - such as managerial and interpersonal skills - and not enough emphasis on less apparent talents, such as morale or team building.
  • 10% cited giving inadequate consideration to people from outside the organization.

More reasons why it's critical to find - and keep the right people:

  • It costs an average of 2½ times an individual's salary to replace an employee who doesn't work out, including recruitment, training, and severance costs, and lost productivity, according to a survey of 444 organizations throughout North America released by Right Management earlier this year.
  • More than four out of 10 organizations (43 percent) said it costs at least three times the employee's salary.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Six Disciplines Leadership Center of Northwest Ohio Announces New Ownership

Six Disciplines Corporation today announced that it has named Eric Kurjan to assume the leadership role of president and owner of the flagship franchise of Six Disciplines Leadership Center of Northwest Ohio, located in Findlay.

Kurjan and his team will be responsible for ensuring the long-term success of Six Disciplines clients in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. Eric’s team will coach and offer strategic advisory services to top-performing organizations that adopt the Six Disciplines™ Methodology, in pursuit of continual business process improvement.

Six Disciplines Leadership Centers offer a new class of professional business improvement service that helps the best performing organizations to achieve lasting business excellence. By using a systematic business-building methodology, practical Internet technologies, and an organizational coaching and strategic advisory service, passionate business leaders learn how to become more aligned with their strategy, focus on execution, and improve their organization’s performance to achieve lasting, sustainable excellence.

Read the entire release here.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Making Change Stick - Part II

This article from Workforce Performance Solutions offers questions can predict the success of your change initiative.

Prudent leaders will ask them before undertaking systemic change.

  • Where are we going and why?
  • Who is involved?
  • Will our culture work for or against this change?
  • How will people feel about having to change?
  • How can we mitigate the fears associated with change?
  • Must we get everything right the first time?
  • How can we set people up to succeed?
  • What behaviors and attitudes should be reinforced?
  • How will we know if it’s working?
  • How can we create a more change-capable organization?

Integrity - The Foundation of All Leadership

Here's a fundamental truth from Gary Bourgeault's ManagersRealm: "Integrity - The Foundation of All Leadership"

The essence:

What is integrity? It means that basically what you say and what you do are one and the same and unified within you. What you show when your bosses or others in leadership are around is the same when they aren't. It involves the values you speak are what really determine your behavior and if you give your word it's as good as done.

Read the entire article here.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Be Excellent™ Celebrates 17,000th Visitor!

Since starting our blog in late July of 2005, we're excited to announce another milestone - our 17,000th visitor to the site!

It would seem that "Helping the best small businesses to achieve lasting excellence" - is a message that resonates - with thousands of you, all over the world.

Thanks to every one of you --the best is yet to come!

Seven Principles of Admirable Business Ethics

"If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters." -- Alan K. Simpson

One of the most important attributes for small business success, is the distinguishing quality of practicing admirable business ethics. Business ethics, practiced throughout the deepest layers of a company, become the heart and soul of the company's culture and can mean the difference between success and failure.

Read the Seven Principles of Admirable Business Ethics here.

(Tip of the hat to Steve Rucinski - at Small Business CEO)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Six Disciplines Leadership Centers Expand Into Indiana

Six Disciplines Corporation today announced that it has signed a franchise agreement to launch a Six Disciplines Leadership Center to service the Central Indiana area.

Six Disciplines Leadership Centers offer a new class of professional business improvement service that works with the best performing organizations to help them achieve lasting business excellence. By using a systematic business-building methodology, practical Internet technologies, and an organizational coaching and strategic advisory service, passionate business leaders and their employees learn how to become more aligned with their strategy, focus on execution, and improve their organization’s performance to achieve lasting, sustainable excellence.

Chip McLean will be the General Manager and owner of the Six Disciplines Leadership Center of Central Indiana, which will be located in Indianapolis. The Six Disciplines Leadership Center of Central Indiana will service clients in the greater Indianapolis area, extending to the East and West state borders, North to Marion and South to Seymour, Indiana.

The Leadership Center is scheduled to be operational in June of 2006. For more information, contact Chip McLean at 317.691.3169 or email . Visit the Six Disciplines Leadership Center of Central Indiana on the web at .

The addition of the Six Disciplines Leadership Center of Central Indiana is the result of an expansion effort by Six Disciplines Corporation to add to its growing nationwide network of independently owned and operated professional business process improvement franchises. Other Six Disciplines Leadership Centers are operational in Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida. To inquire about Six Disciplines Leadership Center franchise opportunities in other U.S. locations, contact Scott May at 419-581-2821 or email

Six Disciplines Leadership Center of Central West Florida Builds Client Momentum in Tampa

Six Disciplines Leadership Center of Central West Florida today announced that it continues to build customer momentum in Tampa by signing a new client agreement with Sharn Veterinary, Inc. Sharn, which was formed in 2001, focuses on veterinary monitoring and has gained an industry-wide reputation for best-in-class monitors.

Sharn Veterinary will be adopting the Six Disciplines business-improvement Methodology and Six Disciplines Business System within their organization. They chose Six Disciplines as a systematic and practical way to address business performance improvement and increase accountability throughout the organization. “By working with Six Disciplines, we’ll be better able to focus on building and executing our strategy,” said Andrew Schultz, President and Founder of Sharn Veterinary. “By adopting the Six Disciplines methodology, we intend to be increasingly effective on executing on our mission to improve patient care and to offer exceptional customer service.”

“Six Disciplines continues to attract local, top-performing organizations that have a passion for continual business improvement,” said Sean Burke, President of the Six Disciplines Leadership Center of Central West Florida. “By incorporating our methodology within their organization, Sharn Veterinary is taking a proactive approach toward building organizational accountability, leading to tangible improvements in their business processes using a systematic and repeatable process that has lasting impact,” said Burke.

The Six Disciplines Leadership Center of Central West Florida offers a new class of professional business improvement service, by working with top-performing organizations to help them achieve lasting business excellence. By using the Six Disciplines systematic business-building methodology, practical Internet technologies, and an organizational coaching and strategic advisory service, passionate business leaders and their employees learn how to become more aligned with their strategy, focus on execution, and improve their organization’s performance. Visit the Six Disciplines Leadership Center of Central West Florida on the web at or call 813.975.7222.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Ensuring Team Member Performance

Talk about scary statistics!

  • About 25% of all new hires won't make it through their first year, according to research from the Employment Policy Foundation.
  • Almost half - 46% - of rookies wash out in the first 18 months, found Leadership IQ, a training firm that studied 20,000 newly hired employees over three years.
  • 53% of managers and executives brought on board from outside are gone within a year, according HR consultants Development Dimensions International.


  • A huge percentage of new employees, including new managers, are not clearly told what they were hired to do or what their goals should be for the first six months and the first year.
  • If you don't know your goals or what success looks like, you can't succeed.

What to do about it:

  • You need to listen at least five times as much as you talk.
  • Ask questions to understand what's really going on.
  • Focus on the goals of the group, team, or company.
BOTTOMLINE: On day one, ensure the success of team members by making sure they are aware of your organization's mission, vision, values, strategic position and goals. Work with them to develop an Individual Plan (IP) that helps them understand how their activities align with the organization's goals. See Discipline IV. Work The Plan.

Managing Performance Effectively

Ventana Research, the leading performance management research and advisory services firm, has unveiled a series of research studies that quantify companies' lack of the information and technology they need to manage performance effectively.

The research results to be released at the Connections 2006 event (Ventana Research's upcoming Analyst and Research Summit on Performance Management) include findings that have implications for the ability of corporate executive management to deliver maximum productivity and value:

  • Almost 50% of those individuals in businesses using scorecards and dashboards to be able to manage to established metrics cannot drill down to find out supporting details and more than a third cannot change the perspective or views of the information.
  • Only 30% of organizations are using their expensive enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems in ways that support performance management.
  • Almost 67% of all scorecards, dashboards and alerts are internally developed and lack key functions
  • More than 70% of companies have scorecards measures that are subject to manipulation or “gaming”
  • 61% of dashboard users cannot drill down to important details
  • 62% of users said their performance alerts were out-of-date and not helpful in guiding a response

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Ethics and Values

Enron and other corporate scandals have led to a sea-change in how employees view their own company's ethics, a U.S study has suggested.

The study of more than 200,000 U.S. employees, examined issues of integrity, social responsibility and company values.

  • Between 2001 to 2005, it found that employee opinions on company integrity had increased by a significant 11 per cent.
  • Nationally, employee perceptions of internal corporate values increased from 78 per cent in 2001 to 82 per cent in 2005.
  • Likewise, perception of management's consistency with stated internal values increased from a 60 per cent positive response in 2001 to 65 per cent in 2005.

BOTTOMLINE: "Knowing where to focus your efforts is half the battle, and companies are clearly paying more attention to ethics and values." (See Discipline I-B, Renew Values (pages 68-71, Six Disciplines for Excellence.)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Excellence - Sports Quotes of the Day

"I am not seeking perfection. It's unattainable. What I am striving for is professional excellence." (Tiger Woods)

"The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor." (Vincent Lombardi)

"Whatever you do, don't do it halfway." (Bob Beamon)

"Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better." (Pat Riley)

"I've always felt it was not up to anyone else to make me give my best." (Akeem Olajuwon)

"Desire is the key to motivation, but it's determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal--a commitment to excellence--that will enable you to attain the success you seek." (Mario Andretti)

"The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence." (Eddie Robinson)

“Sports serve society by providing vivid examples of excellence.” (George Will)

"Excellence is the unlimited ability to improve the quality of what you have to offer." (Rick Pitino)

"The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to his commitment to excellence, regardless of his chosen field of endeavor." (Vince Lombardi)

"Excellence is not a singular act but a habit. You are what you do repeatedly." (Shaquille O’Neal)

Small Business Trends: How To Build A Small Business That Lasts

Small Business Trends is clearly one of the top small business blogs.

Anita Campbell, the editor at Small Business Trends, interviewed Gary Harpst about Six Disciplines on her Small Business Trends Radio program.

According the Anita:

"Six Disciplines is unlike anything I've seen for small businesses.

It's a book.

It's a methodology.

It's technology.

It's a coaching system.

It's something you'll be hearing a lot more about."

Check out Anita's complete interview with Gary here.

Small Business CEO: “Building Small Businesses That Learn, Lead and Last”

Steve Rucinski, editor of Small Business CEO, co-interviewed Gary Harpst about Six Disciplines.

"The result is Six Disciplines. After investing over $10 million and nearly five years of development, Six Disciplines is like nothing else you’ve seen for small businesses. It’s part methodology (business processes), part technology (Internet-based software to manage a small business), and part coaching (someone who helps the business owner learn and stay on track).

If you have a chance to listen to only one small business podcast, you definitely want to listen to Gary Harpst. There is nothing like Six Disciplines and I guarantee you will get a tremendous amount out of his talk."

The link to this podcast is here.

Adopting Best Practices and Six Disciplines

Today's small business owner is confronted with new business problems and opportunities on a regular basis. Running a company requires the ability to look outside the business for solutions, ideas, and best practices.

A best practice is the process of finding and using ideas and strategies from outside your company and your industry to improve performance in a specific area.

The benefits of adopting best practices? Reduced costs, avoiding mistakes, innovating purposefully, and improved performance.

Steps for Adopting Best Practices

  1. Identify one business process or service to improve. (e.g., product delivery)
  2. Look for one metric to measure. (e.g., late shipment %)
  3. Find competitors and companies within your industry and outside your industry. (e.g., FedEx)
  4. Collect information on the successful, best practices of other companies. (e.g., FedEx spoke and hub system)
  5. Modify the best practice for your organization. (e.g., Have one retail store per city act as central hub for shipments.)
  6. Implement the process then measure the results.

BOTTOMLINE: Developing best practices in your organization is a discipline of continual process improvement.

What makes Six Disciplines unique is that it integrates the best practices of strategic planning, quality control, integrated learning, business process automation, people performance management and measure-driven improvement into a single, holistic business process improvement system - optimized for smaller businesses.

SWOT Analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats

Good summary article here: SWOT Analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

When you are planning strategically with any company--online or offline--it is useful to complete an analysis that takes into account not only your own business, but your competitor's businesses and the current business environment as well. A SWOT is one such analysis.

BOTTOMLINE: The Six Disciplines Business System enables you to create and maintain strategy statements like SWOT (as well Mission Statements, Vision, Shared Values, Strategic Position, and Stop List) - all available on your desktop - so all Team Members can view them at any time - from anywhere - and use them to align to your company's strategy.

Culture is the Legacy of Leaders

An interesting Fast Company article poses a quick test on how to foster a culture of success at your organization.

(I've noted specific page references* from Six Disciplines for Excellence that are related to this exercise.)

Consider the team/group/organization you're leading:

  1. Look at your vision/mission statement and jot down the behaviors that everyone supposedly follows. (*Discipline I-A Renew Mission, page 64; Disciplines I-D Renew Vision, page 77)
  2. On a second list jot down the behaviors that everyone actually follows.
  3. Pick the one discrepancy that annoys you the most.
  4. Make it a top priority to change it. (Discipline III-A Identify Misalignments, page 120)
  5. Have a conversation with colleagues on why each of you think the discrepancy exists. (Discipline III-F Align People - page 147)
  6. Agree on some structures to put in place to ensure that change happens (communication, processes, rewards etc). (Discipline III - Align Systems, page 120)

Traits of Leaders

In this month’s Harvard Business Review, a revealing interview with General Electric’s Jeffrey Immelt shows that GE has defined five growth traits for all of GE’s leaders.

In their quest to become growth oriented (the target is to sustain an 8% rate of organic growth), Immelt tells us they had to change some of their DNA.

Here are the 5 traits of GE’s growth leaders:
  1. External focus
  2. Imagination and creativity
  3. Clear thinking and decisiveness
  4. Inclusiveness
  5. Deep domain expertise

BOTTOMLINE: "Which brings us back to what leadership development is all about - a scalable and repeatable process of individual improvement tailored to the future needs of the business."

Monday, June 05, 2006

How To Build A Great Team

The article “How to Build a Great Team” by Charlie Feld, provides a great overview of what it takes to build a great team. Charlie found that the “secret sauce” of great leaders are:

  1. Character: Doing the Right Thing
  2. Leadership Development: The Most Important Task
  3. Passion: The Organizational Energy Level
  4. Influence and Persuasion: Better than Power

BOTTOMLINE: Leaders have the responsibility of developing people and building teams. How are you doing? What percentage of your time do you spend developing the people around you?

(Tip of the hat to George Ambler at The Practice of Leadership for this one!)

Friday, June 02, 2006

Leaders Are Really Only One Thing

Gary Bourgeault, over at ManagersRealm, posts this one on "Leaders are really only one thing..."

True leaders and great managers, when it comes down to the bottom line, are one thing: servants.

Gary's assertion:

"Everything else in management and leadership springs from this. You're not to think of yourself as over people but rather their servants. It's shocking for those who get this, to see how they draw more from the wells of water deep within their people, than those who have to battle, fight, threaten and bully to get what is needed to be done accomplished. Learn to be a servant. You can never lose if you do."