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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Six Disciplines Congratulates PRO-TEC on 2007 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award

Six Disciplines announced today that one of its clients, PRO-TEC Coating Company of Leipsic, Ohio, was named as one of only five organizations in the U.S. to receive the prestigious 2007 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest presidential honor awarded annually for quality and organizational performance excellence.

PRO-TEC was the only the only recipient of the 2007 Baldrige award in the “Small Business” category. Criteria for the Baldrige award include: leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement, analysis, and knowledge management; human resource focus; process management; and business results.

PRO-TEC is no stranger to quality and performance excellence. In 2002, PRO-TEC achieved Tier 3 – Achievement of Excellence from the Ohio Partnership for Excellence. In 2004, PRO-TEC received the Governor’s Award for Excellence from the Ohio Partnership for Excellence. In 2006, they were named a finalist for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, and now they’ve been named as a recipient of the prestigious award for 2007.

“PRO-TEC is a premiere example of how a high-performing organization can deploy a repeatable methodology and execution system to help their employees align day-to-day activities with company goals, and to execute their strategies,” said Gary Harpst, CEO and founder of Six Disciplines Corp. “We are proud to serve such a forward-thinking organization and applaud their achievement,” said Harpst.

“It’s been a very rewarding experience to partner with the teams at PRO-TEC to build strategic plans and focus their efforts on the execution of those plans, said Eric Kurjan, president of Six Disciplines Northwest Ohio. “We congratulate the 236 employees at PRO-TEC on this most prestigious recognition of their performance excellence,” added Kurjan.

“We are excited to receive the Malcolm Baldrige award, and are grateful for the support from Six Disciplines on our performance excellence journey,” said PRO-TEC’s president, Paul Worstell.

About PRO-TEC Coating
PRO-TEC Coating Company, Leipsic, Ohio, provides world-class coated sheet steel in coil form primarily to the quality-critical automotive market. PRO-TEC is a 50/50 joint venture partnership of U.S. Steel Corporation (USS) and KOBE Steel, Ltd., of Japan. The company is privately held. PRO-TEC organizational culture blends the strong American steel-making tradition of USS and KOBE’s technical and analytical Japanese style with the strong work ethic and family values of rural Northwest Ohio to produce a superior product. PRO-TEC is certified to stringent ISO-9001, ISO/TS 16949 and ISO 14001 standards. Visit PRO-TEC at

Change Management Toolkit

Are you personally ready for change?

Is your team in serious need of new ways to work together?

How can your organization deal with a change project which lacks focus or direction?

Do you want to know why change is inevitable but hard to achieve?

Do you want to surf on the waves of change?

The Change Management Toolbook is a collection of more than 120 tools, methods and strategies which you can apply during different stages of personal, team and organizational development, in training, facilitation and consulting. It is divided in three principle sections: Self, Team and Larger System.

(Hat tip to Anthony Ceminaro at BizzBangBuzz for the insight!)

Six Disciplines Client TRUFAST Showcased in Inc. Magazine

The December 2007 issue of Inc. Magazine includes an article by Scott Westcott on the challenges of performance appraisals, entitled "Putting an End to End-of-Year Reviews."

The article highlights two companies and their innovative approaches toward year-end reviews and pay for performance.

A Six Disciplines client, TRUFAST Corporation, a $40 million manufacturer of fasteners in Bryan, Ohio, is showcased in the article.

"Last spring, CEO Brian Roth decided to assess and reward more frequently. Working with Gary Harpst, CEO of the consulting firm Six Disciplines, he launched a quarterly review system for his 80 factory employees....More than 90 percent of Trufast's line workers now receive some bonus."

Read the entire article here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Six Disciplines Client Receives 2007 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award

On November 20, 2007, President George W. Bush and Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez announced that five organizations are the recipients of the 2007 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest Presidential honor for organizational performance excellence.

A Six Disciplines client, PRO-TEC Coating, was named as one of the five recipients. PRO-TEC is one of only five companies to win the award in 2007, and it is the only company to win in the Small Business category.

The Baldrige Award is the top honor a U.S. company can receive for quality achievement and performance excellence. Criteria for the award include: leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement, analysis, and knowledge management; human resource focus; process management; and business results.

Read the official 2007 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award press release here.

See the PRO-TEC profile here.

Read the official press release from PRO-TEC here.

BOTTOMLINE: Six Disciplines congratulates PRO-TEC’s President Paul Worstell and all of the 236 PRO-TEC employees on this outstanding achievement.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Podcast of Gary Harpst on Startup BizCast

Gary Harpst, CEO and founder of Six Disciplines Corporation, was recently interviewed by host Steve Mullen of Startup BizCast.

During the podcast, Gary talks about the importance of planning, as well as a summary of his book "Six Disciplines for Excellence."

Listen to the podcast here: Startup BizCast 24 - A Business Plan for your Small Business (Gary Harpst)

(Startup BizCast, produced by EndGame PR Podcast Production, offers weekly small business advice, tips, and education from owners of small businesses ... all in less time than it takes to have a coffee break! Each episode is 15 minutes or less, so even the busiest small business owner has time to take a BizCast break!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Strategy, Execution and Communication

"The key to delivering strategy is to assemble a balanced team and ensure that both conception and implementation are given the necessary resource."

That was the conclusion of Professor Eddie Obeng, director of Pentacle business school in the UK from their most recent research on strategy and execution, as reported in Management-Issues.

Some of their key findings:

  • More than 80% of managers surveyed believed that too many projects failed to result in anything that improved the profitability of their business.
  • More than three quarters of senior managers underestimated the stress of repeated initiatives or how much such a regime of "permanent revolution" could unnerve their staff.
  • More than half of the managers also believed projects failed because of poor execution rather than in their conception.
  • The most common reason for failure was poor communication, which was ranked highest with 73% seeing it as a regular cause of failure.
BOTTOMLINE: Our survey revealed that people are aware that communication of strategy is of the highest importance and senior management still need to step up to the challenge of being able to effectively disseminate the relevant parts of a strategy in the wider organization, in order to be able to deliver the projects they design."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Six Disciplines for Excellence - 2007 National Best Book Finalist

Six Disciplines for Excellence, by Six Disciplines Corporation CEO and founder Gary Harpst, was named a finalist in two categories of The National "Best Books" 2007 Awards, sponsored by

The two categories

  • Business: Management & Leadership (2 finalists)

  • Business: Entrepreneurship & Small Business (6 finalists)
See the entire list of winners and finalists here.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Self-Discipline - The Key To Getting Things Done

Guidelines for reducing procrastination and improving self-discipline in business are offered in this Entrepreneur Magazine article by Romanus Wolter, "To Do or Not To Do."

"Successful entrepreneurs discipline themselves to take action even when they're weighed down by the tasks at hand. With a few guidelines, you can develop the self-discipline necessary to navigate these new boundaries and accomplish your goals with ease."

  1. Establish an affirmative mind-set by giving yourself a reason to become more disciplined.
  2. Engage yourself.
  3. Start with tasks that produce immediate results.
  4. Make sure your boundaries fit the real world.

BOTTOMLINE: "It takes determination and perseverance to make self-discipline an integral part of your regular practice. You'll become stronger, and insurmountable tasks will become routine. Take conscious action, and soon you can spend more time tackling bigger challenges and reaping the rewards of greater successes."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Six Disciplines Business Excellence Program Builds Nationwide Momentum

Six Disciplines Business Excellence Program Builds Nationwide Momentum

Business coaching network enters new markets, adds clients, experiences rapid growth during 2007

FINDLAY, Ohio, Nov. 15, 2007 — Six Disciplines expanded its reach by entering the Southeast market with a new center in Atlanta and added new clients to its roster in the manufacturing, plastics, construction and engineering industry. Six Disciplines is an award-winning national business excellence network which provides organizations with a complete program that encompasses four elements for enduring business excellence: a repeatable methodology; ongoing external coaching; proactive organizational alignment software to ensure individual and team accountability; and the competitive advantages of a shared learning community.

“Six Disciplines has built momentum during the past two quarters, through franchise network expansion, client growth and senior coaching leadership additions,” said Gary Harpst, founder and CEO of Six Disciplines. “For entrepreneurs and businesses around the country, it’s an alarming reality that only four percent of businesses survive beyond ten years. Our program provides an unprecedented combination of expertise, resources and commitment to help top-performing organizations pursue business excellence and ensure they sustain growth to be one of the four percent that endures.”

President Riz Shakir led the expansion of Six Disciplines Atlanta in October 2007. Shakir, an Atlanta-based serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience growing and running businesses, is a certified executive coach and consultant with the Vail Leadership Institute and has completed executive development programs at The Harvard Business School, The University of Chicago School of Business, The Wharton School of Business and The Kellogg Business School of Northwestern University.

To manage the Atlanta office, Shakir is joined by Senior Vice President Larry Smart, a certified business excellence coach who has led high-growth technology companies in turn-around strategies throughout North America and overseas.

To commemorate the launch, Six Disciplines and the Vail Leadership Institute co-sponsored a leadership event in Atlanta on Nov. 5, with Stephen M. R. Covey, author of The Speed of Trust – The One Thing that Changes Everything, who addressed the importance of trust and how it impacts organizational performance. Additionally, on Dec. 6, Six Disciplines CEO Gary Harpst will be presenting “Execution Revolution: Introducing The First Enduring Business Excellence Program." in conjunction with the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.

The Six Disciplines business excellence program is designed to help businesses increase their capability to handle ever-changing challenges, specifically related to strategy and execution. New clients adopting the Six Disciplines program include Tiffin-based J.B. & Co. Inc. Roofing, one of the largest roofing contractors in Northwest Ohio; Montpelier, Ohio-based Winzeler Stamping Co., a fourth-generation, family-owned manufacturer and supplier of high volume, deep drawn metal stampings and related complete engineering/tool room services; Russells Point-based World Class Plastics Inc., an ISO-9000 certified manufacturer of thermoplastic injection molded parts, dies, flanges, protective pads and blow molding; and Bowling Green-based Kellermeyer Co., which distributes cleaning supplies, cleaning equipment and packaging products in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.

To broaden the community among current customers and better connect with businesses seeking assistance in strategy execution, Six Disciplines also launched a redesigned Web site at, extended their client rosters and announced new staff additions.

  • Six Disciplines North Carolina (Raleigh; Research Triangle Park): Managing partner, Craig Landwehr, recently completed a series of annual strategic planning workshops with Cary-based Signalscape, Inc., provider of advanced signal processing solutions and the parent company of law enforcement video analysis leader StarWitness(SM). The center is also working with several global and regional, non-profit organizations to help them better set and achieve goals while reducing risks.
  • Six Disciplines Central Indiana (Indianapolis): Indianapolis-based Deborah Wood and Associates, a full-service healthcare communications company, has completed a full year utilizing the Six Disciplines program. The company is producing a “Business Life” Video Series in conjunction with Six Disciplines Central Indiana to showcase the company’s progress. The center is also hosting a Jan. 17 event focusing on women business leaders and their keys to success.
  • Six Disciplines Central West Florida (Tampa): President Sean Burke was a featured speaker at a recent Tampa Bay Business Journal Power Breakfast, and the center recently launched a podcast series focused on business challenges facing CEOs in conjunction with the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.
  • Six Disciplines Ohio (Northwest Ohio): President Eric Kurjan will present to entrepreneurs and business owners on how to build company-wide accountability at the University of Toledo on Nov. 30. Kramer Enterprises, a uniform and dry-cleaning business based in Findlay, Ohio has successfully completed a full year with Six Disciplines Ohio focused on developing a corporate succession plan. Kramer Enterprises, along with Six Disciplines, was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal regarding the best way to prepare for corporate change.

In addition to local momentum, based on recent media exposure, the top-rated book Six Disciplines for Excellence, authored by Six Disciplines CEO Gary Harpst, experienced top rankings in the Organizational Learning book category at

Based on years of field testing, client feedback, 100 man-years of research and development and a $20 million investment, the Six Disciplines business excellence program provides organizations with a holistic, enduring approach toward strategy, planning, organizing people and processes, and execution management. Compared to other business improvement and quality programs like Baldrige, TQM, Six Sigma and Lean, which are prevalent in much larger businesses, Six Disciplines is the first program for enduring business excellence, designed specifically for small- and mid-sized businesses. Features normally associated with these much more expensive approaches – including proven best practices such as balanced scorecard, project management, key performance management metrics, integrated activity alignment, and business excellence rating systems – are all elements of the Six Disciplines program.

About Six Disciplines - Six Disciplines Corporation, founded in 2000, developed the first enduring business excellence program, specifically for small- and mid-sized businesses. A business excellence program is an organized way to grow a company’s ability to address an ever-changing and ever increasing series of business challenges, with a focused effort on execution. The Six Disciplines program integrates a repeatable methodology to drive organizational learning, ongoing external coaching to ensure accountability, a proactive alignment system to align daily activities of every stakeholder, and a shared learning community of like-minded people to accelerate and sustain business excellence. The program is offered exclusively through a locally-owned national network of Six Disciplines franchises. The organization was awarded the 2006 Entrepreneur Magazine Top Gun Franchise distinction and among its clients are several from the Inc. 500, ISO-9000 certified companies, and a Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award finalist. For more on Six Disciplines, visit

Vote For The Best Business Books of 2007

Reader's Choice voting is now available for the 2007 800-CEO-Read’s Business Book Awards.

Gary Harpst’s book “Six Disciplines for Excellence” has been submitted in the “Small Business/Entrepreneur” category.

Click here to vote for Six Disciplines for Excellence, as well as any of the other great business books that you've read during 2007.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

CEOs as The Next Team Builders

The New York Times recently published an article entitled "C.E.O. Evolution Phase 3," in which it showcased the profiles of prominent CEOs of the 1990s who built empires, then the "Fix-It Men," whose job it was to repair the excesses and mistakes of their predecessors.

"Now, management experts and longtime watchers of corporate America say the current environment demands, and is attracting, yet another kind of chief executive: the team builder."

The article's premise?

  • "CEOs must be able to ...assemble a team that functions as smoothly as a jazz sextet,” said Warren Bennis, a professor of management at USC.
  • CEOs need to make sure the top hundred people know that they’re in this together, that their fates are correlated,” Mr. Bennis says. “That’s what it will take to succeed in this century.”

BOTTOMLINE: What will be the main challenge in the next 5 to 10 years? The prediction is it would be achieving double-digit growth internally, without the benefit of huge deals or accounting sleight-of-hand. “That’s why I think the baton will go to the manager who will stimulate a division and will be creative and innovative."

Trust and Execution

Jeffrey Phillips, over at Thinking Faster, posts his views on "A Matter of Trust."

His premise?

  • Trust is probably the most important and least discussed aspect of working effectively and efficiently.
  • Trust is something that is earned by a manager or by a co-worker.

Trust comes from:

  1. Doing what you say and saying what you'll do.
  2. Trust comes from being honest about your skills, your abilities, the things you know and can share with others.
  3. Trust is built when people can look around and see that the "values" in the value statements and mission statements aren't just words but are put into practice by the people in the organization
  4. Legacy - what you leave behind.

BOTTOMLINE: At Six Disciplines, our research shows that top-performing organizations have a high-trust culture. High trust cultures lead to higher execution of strategy.

  • What does your firm do to establish and retain your trust?
  • Does it enforce a positive and effective culture?
  • Does it do the right thing, regardless of the consequences?
  • Is the communication open and honest?
  • If not, what can you do to change it?"

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The ROI of Employee Engagement

Several studies over the past few years reiterate the return on investment of strategy-driven employee engagement programs, confirming the importance of an engaged workforce on bottom-line results.

  • The 2007 Global Workforce Study by Towers Perrin established a definitive link between levels of engagement and financial performance. Firms with the highest percentage of engaged employees collectively increased operating income 19% and earnings per share 28% year to year.
  • A 2006 Watson Wyatt study involving 12,750 workers across a range of different sectors demonstrated that the three-year total return to shareholders was 36% higher in organizations with high-employee commitment.
  • A 2005 ISR study (now Towers Perrin) showed that companies with above average employee engagement profits rose by 2.06% and operating margin rose by 3.74% over the same period.
  • A 2004 Sirota Consulting study of 28 multinational companies found that the share prices of organizations with highly engaged employees rose by an average of 16% compared to an industry average of 6%.

BOTTOMLINE: Employee engagement starts with a strategically-aligned recognition system that is directly tied to the strategy (mission, vision, values) of the entire organization. This does not mean motivational posters and a simple pat on the back. Successful engagement programs must be embraced company-wide, supported by senior executives, and executed strategically.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Four Dimensions of Employee Engagement

Excerpted from their new book Human Sigma: Managing the Employee-Customer Encounter (Gallup Press, November 2007), authors John H. Fleming and Jim Asplund explore the four dimensions of employee engagement.

Their premise?

"Executives cannot legislate culture with mission or vision statements or through values clarification; it must also grow organically one workgroup at a time."

So how do we manage people for success and high levels of productivity in the new economy?

BOTTOMLINE: "The answer is employee engagement or the ability to capture the heads, hearts, and souls of your employees to instill an intrinsic desire and passion for excellence. Engaged employees want their organization to succeed because they feel connected emotionally, socially, and even spiritually to its mission, vision, and purpose."

Read the entire excerpt here.

The Strategist Notebook Reviews Six Disciplines for Excellence

Kim Soon Lye, editor of The Strategist Notebook has posted a review of Six Disciplines for Excellence.

The review steps through the book, chapter by chapter and offers a good summary of Gary Harpst's top-rated business improvement book Six Disciplines for Excellence.

(Speaking of books, watch for Gary Harpst's new book, coming in mid 2008, entitled "Execution Revolution"....stay tuned to this blog for more details coming soon!)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Execute the Things That Matter

Good friend Bud Bilanch, The Common Sense Guy, offers this timely post on "Successful Businesses Skillfully Execute the Things That Matter," which come from his book 4 Secrets of High Performing Organizations.

The focus of his post is on our favorite topic: EXECUTION.

According to Bud:

"Execution is where the rubber meets the road. An outstanding mission, vision and business plan and the most committed people in the world, still must do what it takes to turn an organization’s vision into reality. They start with well defined metrics that are linked to their strategic and annual business plans. They use these metrics to manage their business and measure progress towards their goals. They use both quantitative and qualitative measures to determine their performance versus metrics. They revise their plans based on the information they glean from regular reviews of their performance versus metrics."

(And, what's NOT to like about Bud's collection of expert quotes on the importance of execution?)

Check 'em out here.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Stephen M.R. Covey Speaks in Atlanta

Stephen M.R. Covey, author of the best-seller The Speed of Trust, was in Atlanta on Monday, speaking to business leaders about the importance of building trust and its effect and return on organizational performance. The event was sponsored by Six Disciplines and the Vail Leadership Institute.

In the picture, L-to-R: Gary Harpst (Six Disciplines); John Horan-Kates (Vail Leadership Institute); Riz Shakir (Six Disciplines Atlanta); Stephen M.R. Covey (CoveyLink)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Six Disciplines Client Featured In WSJ Forum

The Oct. 22 Small Business Link in the Wall Street Journal looked at ways small companies had planned for a change in management at the top.

Wall Street Journal reporter Simona Covel asked Tim Berry, founder and president of Palo Alto Software Inc. in Eugene, Ore., and Andrea Fetterman, director of corporate-image consulting at City Apparel, an offshoot of uniform and dry-cleaning business Kramer Enterprises Inc., in Findlay, Ohio, (and a Six Disciplines client) to be guest moderators.

Here are the edited excerpts of the reader forum on about succession planning.

Author Gary Harpst Appears on

Six Disciplines for Excellence Author, Gary Harpst, Talks Exclusively with Ruth King on

Listed as Accounting Today magazine’s “Top 100 Influential People in Accounting”, Gary Harpst’s reputation does more than precede him. As a veteran corporate executive he’s dynamic and brilliant, but as the founder and CEO of Six Disciplines Corporation and noted author of the acclaimed Six Disciplines for Excellence he’s inspiring.

Gary Harpst will make his debut on Atlanta’s premier internet broadcasting network,, as he talks about his latest book and long-term fitness program for an empowered, successful, and better quality of life.“Having a guest like Gary Harpst appear on our network is both thrilling and motivating. We aim to bring our viewers top-notch professionals with a genuine story to tell, and we’re proud to say that we’re achieving that.” says Susan Roman, Production Manager for about the quality of guests invited to appear on the network.

Gary Harpst was interviewed by Ruth King on’s breakout program “Cover Stories”. Designed to spotlight authors of business books, “Cover Stories” has garnered tremendous support from publishers and the media because of its high quality content. Internationally-known speakers-turned-authors have appeared on the program, and Gary Harpst will help in maintaining that standard. The methodologies and principles illustrated in Gary Harpst’s book parallels the insightful and timely programming strives to sustain. In addition to its compelling content, offers and interactive experience for its viewers by allowing people to chat in questions during the live program. This innovation is what makes “Cover Stories”--and the network as whole—an industry leader in internet broadcasting.

Viewers can watch Gary Harpst's web TV interview for free here.

(Thanks to Jennifer Colter at Biz Biz for the coverage)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Effective Succession Planning

Succession planning, along with workforce performance management in general, is increasingly regarded as a significant influence in determining the success of an organization. If it is undertaken effectively, you can ensure that your organization has capable and trained managers to guide its growth.

So what are the benefits of an effective succession planning process?

  • A study of more than 100 companies found that organizations that routinely use a formal succession planning process to help workers advance, are also consistently high-performing firms, as measured by total shareholder return. (Source: Hewitt Associates, November 2003)

Unfortunately, many people think of succession planning too narrowly, as if it were something done only to plan for CEO transitions, emergency contingencies, etc.

  1. Succession planning is a part of the process of preparing for the future of your company.
  2. Succession planning is a learning process.
  3. A succession plan is also a documented road map.
  4. Succession planning is about sustaining your firm throughout constant change.

Kramer Enterprises is an example of a company in transition. They've adopted the Six Disciplines program to help them with the challenges of succession planning. Read about them here in this Wall Street Journal article.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

When Success Isn't Enough

The November issue of Entrepreneur Magazine offers an article entitled "When Success Isn't Enough."

The premise of the article?

"Business is good, but it could be better. So get out of that rut and take it to the next level--here's how. "

This is exactly the scenario we at Six Disciplines find many companies in. A few years ago, we conducted quantitative research with over 300 CEOs from small and mid-sized companies. We asked the senior leadership, “If you could only choose one area of focus in your business, what would it be?” (The graph above indicates their responses.)

What appears from our questioning of top performing businesses that their leaders want something beyond being successful.

These CEOs are very passionate about their businesses, and their companies are financially sound. They have strong leadership teams and they attract and retain quality people. They’re already disciplined in their approach to business, they use technology strategically, and they effectively engage external trusted relationships. Using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as an analogous construct, these CEOs had already experienced success. What they sought was Maslow’s highest level of attainment: the business form of self-actualization . . . or what they responded to as “business excellence.”