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Monday, February 25, 2008

Six Disciplines: A Program For Balanced Strategy Execution During Economic Uncertainty

Six Disciplines Provides Growing Businesses with a Balanced Program for Strategy Execution During Any Economic Environment

New Clients and Continued Market Acceptance Increase Momentum in 2008

FINDLAY, Ohio, Feb. 25, 2008 —Six Disciplines announced today that momentum continues to build nationwide for its breakthrough strategy execution program, evidenced by enrolling new clients from the healthcare, manufacturing and furniture industries. The Six Disciplines program, delivered by a growing network of local centers, consists of a repeatable business-building methodology, local accountability coaching, an execution software system to ensure individual and team activity alignment, and the economic advantages of accelerated community learning.

Based on years of field testing, 100 man-years of research and development and a $20 million investment, the Six Disciplines program provides organizations with a holistic approach toward strategy, planning, organizing people and processes, execution management, innovation and organizational learning.

“What most business leaders think is their greatest challenge really isn’t. There is one business problem that, if solved, makes solving all other problems easier,” said Gary Harpst, founder and CEO of Six Disciplines. “Knowing how to plan and execute, while overcoming today’s surprises is the most foundational capability any organization can have. We show our clients how to balance strategy and execution, a key competitive advantage--particularly during times of economic uncertainty.”

Six Disciplines nationwide has seen continued success through the acquisition of new clients, increased staffing hires based on market demand and secured speaking engagements to small and midsized business executives. Leading center initiatives across the country include:

  • Six Disciplines North Carolina (Raleigh; Research Triangle Park): Managing partner, Craig Landwehr, recently completed the first year of Six Disciplines program implementation with the global IT organization of Research Triangle Park-based Family Health International, a non-profit organization focused on improving lives around the world through public health research, education, and services. The center has also begun working with several other regional non-profit organizations including Planned Parenthood of Central NC and the Triangle YMCA. Landwehr will be conducting a monthly series of Executive Briefings focused on “Getting the Right Things Done: A Leader’s Guide to Strategy, Planning, and Execution.”
  • Six Disciplines Central Indiana (Indianapolis): General Manager John Boomershine recently formalized a client relationship with ADVANTAGE Health Solutions, Inc., an Indianapolis-based provider-owned health plan offering healthcare benefits and solutions to employer groups of all sizes. Additionally, the center recently held executive briefings with 29 local organizations to discuss goal setting for not-for-profits. To support their growing client base, the center hired two new executive coaches, Marianne McLean and Jennifer LeMieux. McLean is responsible for offering strategic advisory services to clients in pursuit of continual business improvement process; she was a founding partner at Advanced Interface Solutions, Inc., previously. LeMieux, an employee of Six Disciplines Central Indiana since 2006, will aid clients in successfully adopting the Six Disciplines program. She will also continue to support the center’s ongoing marketing initiatives.
  • Six Disciplines Tampa: President Sean Burke will speak at the St. Petersburg College Business Solutions Showcase on Feb. 29. The center also recently launched a six-part “Business Excellence” podcast series on strategic planning. The series can be found at
  • Six Disciplines Ohio: President Eric Kurjan recently formalized relationships in Jan. with Waterville, Ohio-based BioFit, an industry-leading manufacturer of ergonomic seating, tables, and stools; and Total Fleet Solutions, a Toledo, Ohio-based one-stop shop for material handling equipment needs of Fortune 1000 corporations. Additionally, the center has added Jeff Sprague as a coach to support their overall regional growth. Sprague is responsible for offering enduring strategic advising services to organizations that adopt the Six Disciplines methodology. Senior Client Coach Scott Gray will present to entrepreneurs and business owners at both the University of Toledo Center for Family Business and the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce in March, April and May. The center also recently established a partnership with the Ohio Manufacturer’s Association and will be presenting a seminar to members in April.
  • Six Disciplines Atlanta: On Jan. 1 a new center office was established at 1755 North Brown Rd. in Lawrenceville, Ga. On Feb. 4 President Riz Shakir was a guest lecturer at the J Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University, where he spoke to more than 30 students taking the school’s “Managing the Family Business” class. Of those participating, the majority are part of families that own small or midsized businesses. His presentation, “Ownership of an Enterprise Built to Last,” addressed the importance of strategic planning.

Six Disciplines Books Gain Awareness

Based on recent media exposure, momentum also continues to build for the top-rated handbook Six Disciplines for Excellence, authored by Six Disciplines founder and CEO Gary Harpst. Six Disciplines for Excellence received the 2007 USA Book News Best Books finalist award, and was rated the No. 1 business book for 2007 by The Center for Workplace Excellence. Six Disciplines for Excellence is also consistently ranked in the top ten books of the Organizational Learning category on Amazon.

As a follow-up to the success of Six Disciplines for Excellence, Harpst has finished a new book, Execution Revolution: Solving The One Problem That Makes Solving All Other Problems Easier, which is scheduled to be published in April 2008. In Execution Revolution, Harpst details the elements of a complete strategy execution program, explains why it could only have happened now, and clarifies why such a program will become a mainstream requirement for successful small and midsized businesses.

About Six Disciplines

Six Disciplines Corporation, founded in 2000, has developed the first complete strategy execution program, specifically for small and midsized businesses. The Six Disciplines program integrates a repeatable methodology to drive organizational learning, ongoing external coaching to ensure accountability, an execution software system to align daily activities of every stakeholder, and community learning to accelerate and sustain business excellence. The program is offered exclusively through a growing national network of locally-owned Six Disciplines Centers. Businesses that have implemented the Six Disciplines program include those from the Inc. 500, ISO-9000 certified companies, and a 2007 Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award recipient. Visit

Friday, February 15, 2008

Six Disciplines Showcased In Findlay Courier

Six Disciplines was showcased in the Findlay Courier's 2008 Progress Report, "Six Disciplines: Findlay company showing others how to meet goals - Helps businesses define where they want to go, build and execute strategy."

Six Disciplines Northwest Ohio president Eric Kurjan (pictured above) highlights the variety of growing companies that are Six Disciplines clients.

View the PDF of the article here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Advance Review of Gary Harpst's Execution Revolution

Anita Campbell, the editor and trend watcher over at Small Business Trends has just posted her advance review of "Execution Revolution: Solving The One Problem That Makes Solving All Other Problems Easier" authored by Six Disciplines founder and CEO, Gary Harpst.

According to Anita:

"This is not a “how to start a business” book. Execution Revolution is designed for businesses that have been in business at least a few years and made traction already. If you’re purely a startup, say 6 months old, you may find parts of the book helpful, but you won’t be able to put all the lessons into practice. That’s because your business is too new; you’re still figuring out how to get enough customers just to survive.

It’s also not a book for businesses in dire trouble. For that you need turn-around help.

However, if you’ve been in business a few years, gotten your small to midsize business to a steady-state level of success, and are itching to get to the next level, this is the book you need. You will want to read Execution Revolution."

Read the entire review here!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Keeping Yourself Accountable

Finding it tough to keep yourself on track?

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) has posted a great article on "Keeping Yourself Accountable."

"There will be times in which it will be impossible for you to do something you said you wanted to do in the initial time you allotted. Business conditions change, emergencies crop up and unexpected challenges will likely cause some goals to be put on hold. But if you are constantly making plans only to leave them halfway completed or not started at all, consider the following suggestions for taking yourself a little more seriously:

  1. Write goals down.
  2. Use deadlines.
  3. Employ the buddy system.
  4. Hire a coach.
  5. Offer rewards or punishments.
Read the entire article here.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Six Disciplines Client Video - Deborah Wood Associates

Watch this short video "The Road to EXCELLENCE : Deborah Wood Associates - Part One" which showcases how this high growth company decided to enroll in the Six Disciplines strategy execution program.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Strategy, Execution and Organizational Alignment

One of the toughest challenges that a CEO faces is connecting their strategy to execution. It's considered to be the major reason why CEOs fail.

The strategy execution process looks like this:
  • Clear strategic planning - mission, vision, values, strategic position
  • Crisp 1 year goal setting - financial, customer, production, people goals and measures
  • Align resources - processes, policies, measures, technology, people
  • Individual plans to execute against the goals - prioritized daily, status updated weekly
  • Continual measurement of progress

The strategic planning process begins with an annual strategic planning process that involves reviewing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT), as well as internal and external trends. This information helps to update or renew the mission, vision, values and strategic position of the company.

Next, the organization's VFOs (Vital Few Objectives) are decided upon in the 1 year goal setting process. Priorities for each quarter are identified, along with responsibilities assigned and measures established. These VFOs are decomposed into key Initiatives and Projects. Individual Plans for each team member are created that tie directly to these Initiatives and Projects. Each team member is accountable for their quarterly plan, which assures alignment with corporate goals.

Quarterly planning sessions are held to assess held to assess how well the organization has accomplished their priorities. Short monthly team meetings help to stay aligned and to make adjustments early enough to ensure progress. Brief weekly individual status meetings are held to keep progress on track. Any "at risk" items are flagged and addressed immediately.

The combination of all of these activities contribute to organizational alignment. The key driver of organizational alignment is a organizational "fitness." By fitness, we're referring to an organization's ability to be both efficient (doing things right) - and effective (doing the right things). By building accountability within an organization, continual alignment and organizational fitness occurs.

BOTTOMLINE: A clear strategy can only be of value when it is translated into crisp goals, and when a organization's resources are continually aligned toward execution.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Barriers To Goal Setting and Execution

The good folks over at TEC have a very deep and rich set of best practices for a variety of management concerns.

In particular, is their extensive list of suggestions on Goal Setting.

Listed here are 10 Barriers to setting - and executing organizational goals:
  1. Lack of clear-cut responsibilities around the goals
  2. Lack of a tracking system
  3. Lack of an accountability system
  4. Lack of commitment
  5. Lack of buy-in from people who are expected to fulfill the goals
  6. Ineffective communication
  7. Lack of time or resources
  8. Too many goals are financially driven
  9. Focusing on too many or too few goals
  10. Goals aren't tied to a longer-term vision

BOTTOMLINE: Get agreement on the appropriate goals for your organization. Write them down. Keep them close by. Get buy in and alignment from those executing the goals. Make them realistic and attainable. See Discipline II - Set Goals That Lead from Six Disciplines for Excellence.