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Pursuing Excellence: A Values-Based, Systems Approach to Help Companies Become More Resilient

Pursuing Excellence: A Values-Based, Systems Approach to Help Companies Become More Resilient

by Brian Strobel


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This book is for the people who lead our companies.

Our world'suffered a staggering blow. We will recover. Many of our companies are still suffering. Some of them will not recover.

We’re in a time of disruption. A company’s culture will play a big part in managing through this disruption. Senior leaders must establish a clear purpose, a strong set of core values, and a plan to translate strategy into action.

Companies will be seeking to transform, to become more efficient and resilient. Most attempts to do so fail. They fail because we try to solve the wrong problem with the wrong system. We attempt to change the way people act. But to achieve sustained improvement, we must focus on changing the way they think.

Over the last thirty years, we’ve experimented with Lean, Six Sigma, and other improvement initiatives. Each failed to move beyond average performance and sustain transformational improvement. Average then became a learned behavior.

To move forward, we must unlearn some things. We must change our problem definition and our defined systems. And we can do this by framing the problem through the lens of Operational Excellence.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780367903046
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 12/07/2020
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Brian Strobel has been leading people in operational environments for thirty years. His initial academic pursuits trained him to be a physicist, but life had other plans. He’s led large-scale military operations and led change across large companies. He’s certified as a trainer for Situational Leadership, a Professional Coach, a Lean Six Sigma expert, and a Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence.

He earned a Master’s in Management and one in Executive Leadership, to include study under Ken Blanchard. His resume reveals a consultant, corporate executive, author, and Marine Officer. But resumes can fail to summarize what’s important. A better summary relates he strives to be a servant to those he leads.

Brian’s path has been different than most, but always one focused on excellence. This path eventually revealed life’s plan. He’s now fully dedicated to this pursuit, living in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada with his wife and his new dog. When not helping others in the pursuit of excellence, you can find him with his wife and that dog enjoying the mountains.

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Prologue xv

Introduction xvii

A Story from the Past xvii

Applying the Book's Concepts xxii

The Lens of Operational Excellence xxv

Part I Things That Are and That Could Be

Chapter 1 Start with the Beginning but Focus on the End 3

A Very Brief History of Excellence 3

Quality Management Principles 5

Continuous Improvement 7

What Operational Excellence Looks Like 11

Values and Beliefs 12

Culture 12

Leadership and Strategy 12

Systems and Structures 13

Marketspace 13

People 13

Processes 13

Products 14

Customer Experience 14

Communicating Our Intent 15

Leading the Movement to Excellence 16

Part II Things We Don't See

Chapter 2 Validating Our Values and Beliefs 21

What We Believe and Value 21

Documenting What We Believe 26

Measuring What We Value 27

Chapter 3 Honing Our Culture 31

The Way Things Get Done Around Here 31

Learning 34

Friction 38

Victimhood 42

Deviance 44

Toxicity 47

Chapter 4 Clarifying Our Leadership 51

Leadership versus Management 51

Leadership Style 54

Management Skills 58

Decision-Making 61

Chapter 5 Aligning Our Strategy 67

Alignment 67

Goals and Objectives 69

Organizational Strategy 72

Strategic Goal Deployment 75

Chapter 6 Integrating Our Systems and Structures 81

Systems Thinking 81

Managing Complexity 84

Risk and Opportunity Thinking 87

Our Changing Organizational Construct 91

Fragile versus Robust 93

Chapter 7 Understanding Our Marketspace 97

Market Life Cycles and Leadership 97

Black Swans, Blue Oceans, and Red Herrings 100

Quality 4.0 104

Part III Things We Do See

Chapter 8 Engaging Our People 109

The Business of People 109

Engagement 111

Empowerment 115

Accountability 117

Teamwork and Individualism 121

Chapter 9 Improving Our Processes 125

Our Written Rules for How Work Gets Done 125

Why Good People Do Bad Things 129

Problem-Solving 131

Chapter 10 Realizing Our Products 137

Why Dominates What 137

Design Thinking 138

Innovation 141

Quality Assured 143

Part IV Things the Customer Sees

Chapter 11 Optimizing the Customer Experience 151

The Purpose of Business 151

Customer Assurance 153

Internal versus External Focus 155

An Example of Excellence 157

Part V Why These Things Matter

Chapter 12 Application 163

Cost, Price, and Value 164

Analytics 168

Measuring Performance 172

Management Systems 174

Conclusion 179

Epilogue 181

Notes 185

Author 191

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