6.4 Further Principles

Constancy of purpose

  • Clarity about what are the most important long term objectives
  • What do we need to focus on?
  • Persistence direction influencing the behaviour


Respect for People

  • All of the employees have the potential for innovation and creativity
  • The input of an employee should not be disregarded because it results in passivity later
  • Active participation, mentoring, coaching, collaborating
  • Questioning the way we have always done it is respected and welcomed
  • Humility: everyone must feel safe about sharing his/her ideas. Do not ridicule!


Continuous Improvement, Pursuit of Perfection

  • We should see our job as: daily work, daily improvement
  • Change is inescapable and even desirable, proactively meet challenges!
  • Shift the tone from reactive firefighting to proactive problem solving
  • Problem: people don’t like changes but like their comfort zone, old habits and patterns are difficult to change.
  • Requires to become a learning organization
    • Continuous development of people’s capabilities to understand complexity and to improve shared understanding


Proactive behaviour

  • Merriam-Webster definition of proactive: “controlling a situation by making things happen or by preparing for possible future problems
  • take the opportunity to make a difference every day
  • Time Management Matrix
    • 1. Important, not urgent: proactive. Long term sustainable quality born here. Planning, prevention, preparation, new opportunities, learning, developing.
    • 2. Important, urgent: reactive, demand. Firefighting, crisis, interruptions, rework, pressing problems.
    • 3. Not important, urgent: deception, illusion. Questionable and misaligned tasks and objectives. Unproductive meetings, excessive emails, interruptions.
    • 4. Not important, not urgent: waste, escape. Junk mail, escape activities, internet surfing, time wasters, excessive TV.

Figure 6.2: Time management matrix


We should try to follow the order: most of the times to be proactive, if needed be reactive but try to avoid to being illusive or wasting our time.


Voice of the customer      

  • To focus on the right issues you have to listen to the voice of your customer, regularly, continuously
  • Who is your real customer? It is not so trivial sometimes…
    • The domain expert who is your official contact or the external sales contact of the company, or the end user of a potential buyer?


Quality at the source

  • Doing the things right for the first time
  • Problem: we will fix it later approach is accepted and prevalent
  • Best time to solve a problem when it appears
    • The problem is understood
    • The circumstances in which the problem can occur are available
    • If we don’t fix it then further problems/side effects may also appear
    • If we fix it now then it means much less extra work (documentation, communication, etc.)
    • We can take steps to prevent the appearance of the same or similar problems in future


See the whole, Systems thinking

  • See all of the processes, activities, tasks, work steps, etc. with all relationships between them in one big picture. Concentrate on the whole not on the small, locale parts.
  • Avoid creating locally optimized solutions.
  • Problem: we have a narrow focus on local parts of a big picture.
  • Cross functional teams can ensure systems thinking (by their breadth expertise and understanding)


Flow, pull, Just In Time (JIT)

  • Uninterrupted flow (progression) of everyday work, materials, services and information.
  • Too much unfinished (and obsolete) tasks vs. flowing the tasks one by one.
  • Problems: inventory of materials, paper, document (all have to be managed and tracked), tasks queue.
  • Eliminate interruptions and delays by pulling the work if it is demanded
    • The work is performed when the customer demand appears (Just In Time)



  • The shared beliefs and values of an organization is the basis to build a culture
    • beliefs and values are the building blocks of the attitude and behaviour of people
    • people will be engaged and committed to the organization by the shared beliefs and values
    • culture can create the shared capability of proactive problem discovering and solving