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Leadership Principles

  1. Leaders envision and embrace as achievable what others think is impossible.
  2. It is not enough for a passionate innovator to create the technically possible.  Success is dependent on understanding and articulating who wants it and why.
  3. Excellence is achieved and sustained when defined by customers, created by engaged employees, measured by management and rewarded by leaders.
  4. Confusion, chaos, conflict and dysfunction are reduced as ambiguity is replaced with certainty.
  5. Purposeful success will not be fully realized without continuously using all six levers of cultural transformation: language, values, measures, power, assumptions, modeling.
  6. The complexity of cultural transformation is simplified by creating explicit alignment among core values, strategic outcomes, measures of success and product ownership.
  7. The mind and fortitude of an innovator are focused on why we do what we do for specified others.
  8. The differences among the four outcomes in the 8 Dimensions of Excellence are as fundamental as differences among the four elements of earth, fire, water, and air.
  9. Vital Lies are destroyed with proof the assumptions are false.
  10. When we claim something is important but don’t measure it, the importance is less than we claim.
  11. A core value whose practice is rewarded will be more dominant than a value not tied to reward.
  12. Excellence is undermined by failures that carry no consequences.
  13. Internal alignment is enabled when every employee can see the relationship between their personal products and those at the enterprise level.
  14. A core value is alive when a written policy directs and supports its active deployment and related behaviors.
  15. The Master of Excellence assures that end-users of all products produced everywhere within the enterprise are treated as the definers of excellence and determiners of satisfaction.
  16. Those who incorporate entertainment as part of their product offering will be viewed as more excellent and satisfying than those who don’t.
  17. Language functions as a lever when it creates consensus of meaning and purposeful, deployable intent.
  18. Power is determined by who (a) drives the design of products and processes, (b) selects what behavior gets rewarded and (c) holds both the authority and capacity to achieve or prevent a specified result.
  19. Policies can make values visible, actionable and personally relevant.
  20. When you hear a vital lie, ask for the evidence that would prove the statement
  21. The role of a leader is to identify when there is potential conflict between strategic direction and operational matters and find a way to create consensus.
  22. Leaders of customer-centered excellence are totally clear about the difference between customer desired & undesired outcomes, Dimensions 1 & 2.

Product Principles

  1. Products focus our vision outward to customers; process focuses us inward.
  2. A product must meet all five characteristics:
    • it can be made plural with an ‘s’,
    • it is a deliverable we can give to others
    • it is packaged in countable units
    • it is very specific to the person or group that produces it
    • it is used to produce a desired outcome (for the producer and/or customer)
  3. The voice of leadership (VOL) is expressed in products such as strategies, policies, plans and decisions.
  4. The relative priority of our core values are reflected in the decisions we make.
  5. The higher we are in an organization, the less likely we are to define our work as tangible products or measure their performance; doing so drives excellence in all other products.
  6. Activity that creates no product is of questionable value.
  7. Service is not a product. It is so ambiguous in meaning as to be a useless term, except as an adjective to describe certain kinds of products.
  8. Service products uniquely require customer involvement in the production of the product.
  9. Information products are created in anticipation of a need; service products are produced in response.
  10. Leaders define their knowledge products as quantified deliverables, designed to satisfy emerging expectations of highly differentiated customers.
  11. Every product is a cause of success or failure; treat it that way.
  12. A product that does not create a desired outcome is of no value.
  13. Organize everything by product: customers, measures, outcomes, problems, processes and teams.
  14. The unit cost, quality, yield, cycle time, rework cost and satisfaction with every product are contributors to excellence and can be measured.
  15. Enlightened leaders understand the earlier a product is created within a flow of products, the bigger its impact will be, so excellence must start there.
  16. A product may be defined differently by customers than its producer.
  17. We can only identify our customers by their relationships to specific products.
  18. Customers may not know what the product should be but they know the outcomes it must achieve.
  19. Service is characterized by 6 major constraints. Products fix them all.
  20. A product is the root cause of any problem.
  21. Fix the product before the process.
  22. A process is a chain of products

Customer Principles

  1. Tolerating ambiguity in defining who the customer is permits confusion and reduced enterprise performance.
  2. We cannot meaningfully talk about who “the customers” are without specifying each of the products for which they are customers.
  3. There are only three roles a customer can play with any product: end-user, broker or fixer
  4. A customer may play multiple roles with a single product.
  5. The more specific the product, the easier it is to identify a customer’s role.
  6. Clarity about the customer leads to certainty about what is wanted by whom and how to achieve excellence.
  7. End-users for a product are rarely a homogeneous group.
  8. End-users often have less power than brokers.
  9. Eliminate, consolidate, then automate the broker role to build end-user empowerment.
  10. Ability to directly change the design of a product is often based on the five P’s of power: position, purse strings, proximity, personality and presence, not the role of the customer as it should be.
  11. Brokers add value for producers and end-users when reducing the time, cost, error and complexity incurred in producing, delivering and acquiring desired products.
  12. Brokers foster understanding by being bi-lingual, speaking the languages of end-users and producers.
  13. Brokers may represent the interests of end-users, the interests of producers or their own interests, independent of any others.
  14. A broker can be said to act as an agent for the end-users of a product only if (a) the end-users think so and (b) the priorities of end-users direct broker behavior.
  15. The more brokers are involved with a product, the less power the end-users are likely to have.
  16. The end-users’ knowledge of and feelings about the producer will color their satisfaction with the product.
  17. Just as citizens have responsibilities, so do customers. They, as all other humans, are not always right!
  18. End-users always win in the long run.

Satisfaction Principles

  1. Reducing dissatisfaction is not the same as improving satisfaction.
  2. Performance, perception and outcome expectations are the basis of satisfaction.
  3. Assume customer expectations are unmet, until you check.
  4. Assuming customers don’t know what they want causes us to give them what we want.
  5. What customers expect is not necessarily what they want.
  6. End-users’ desired outcomes are stable over time.
  7. Customers always know the outcomes they want.
  8. Customers do not always know the product is that will best achieve their outcome.
  9. Current customer behavior is not a predictor of future expectations.
  10. Customers will answer the questions we pose, so ask the right ones.
  11. Favor end-users of the product when their expectations compete with interests of brokers.
  12. It is possible to achieve standards and specifications yet still not satisfy end-users.
  13. A luxury once experienced becomes a necessity.

Innovation Principles

  1. Innovation depends on divergent thinking about outcomes; quality improvement uses convergent thinking about products.
  2. Understand customer-desired outcomes before considering product functions or features.
  3. Building a better mousetrap will not assure the world beats a path to our door; customers don’t want trapped mice, they want no mice.
  4. Customers are loyal to outcomes, not products.
  5. The biggest constraints on innovation include our beliefs that we are already best in class, that doing more of the same will sustain our success and that “it can’t be done”.

Measurement Principles

  1. What we measure is what we value.
  2. Anything can be measured.
  3. The biggest constraints on what we measure are our Vital Lies.
  4. Success is defined by the quality of measures and pace of improvement for each of the 8 Dimensions of Excellence.
  5. The higher a person is in an organization, the less likely it is their work is measured.
  6. Measure customer desired outcomes at least as well as undesired outcomes.
  7. If a product is worth producing, it is worth measuring.
  8. The unit cost, quality, yield, cycle time, rework cost and satisfaction with every product are key contributors to excellence and can be measured.
  9. A measure without a numerical goal for improvement is of limited value.
  10. Measurement systems and tools that emphasize reliability over validity can easily create misleading conclusions.
  11. Don’t tell me what you value, show me what you measure.

Process Principles

  1. Process improvement, not positively experienced by customers, is a competitive mirage.
  2. The customer’s process begins when an outcome is wanted and ends when satisfaction is achieved.
  3. Question the value of any process that does not create a customer-valued product.
  4. Mapping the flow of products simplifies and should precede mapping the flow of activities.
  5. One product represents many activities.
  6. Eliminate and consolidate before automating.
  7. The yield of the entire process is constrained by the lowest product yield within the process.
  8. Process improvement is constrained – or enabled – by source products.

Principles for Creating a Customer-Centered Culture

  1. Products focus our vision outward to customers; process emphasizes introspection.
  2. Customers (end-users, brokers, fixers) can only be identified by their relationship to specific products.
  3. End-users always win in the long run.
  4. Performance, perception and outcome are the basis for satisfaction.
  5. Always assume customer wants are unmet, until you check.
  6. What we measure is what we value.
  7. Without knowing what we do (produce knowledge products), who we do it for (end-users), what they want and why (outcomes), how we do it (process) is irrelevant.
  8. Eliminate and consolidate before we automate.
  9. Process improvement, not positively experienced by customers, is a competitive mirage.
  10. Vital lies are constraints on any change initiative.
  11. The absence of an undesired outcome is not the same as achieving a desired outcome.
  12. Failure to address desired outcomes leads to preoccupation with reducing undesired outcomes