Six Disciplines for Excellence
by Gary Harpst
reviewed by Steven G. Lauck

There are few books that can be used as a "How To" manual; Six Disciplines for Excellence is one of them. Six Disciplines not only documents what needs to be done, it shows how to do it by providing the processes and forms, including tables with roles and responsibilities. In addition there are hints and tips for quick reference.

The overwhelming attraction to this book is the focus on small business. Many of the "hot" reengineering programs are directed at large companies. Small business has few tools to achieve excellence, and even fewer that lay out a concise plan.

The information is presented in a step-by-step approach with detail and explanation of building one step on another. Those steps:

  1. Decide What's Important
  2. Set Goals that Lead
  3. Align Systems
  4. Work the Plan
  5. Innovate Purposefully
  6. Step Back

Many small businesses spend much of the time on surviving and don't realize that planning and achieving excellence doesn't require a large time investment. While proper time should be allotted for planning, Gary Harpst explains that some of these tasks should not take lots of time to complete. For example: status reports for Individual Plans (IP) should not take more than 5 minutes to write and 15 minutes to review. With fewer than 10 employees the investment is less than an afternoon. Not much of a time investment to make sure your employees are working on the important stuff.

The book is an easy read but certainly not a quick read. It is definitely not a "read once and file away"; it should be on the desk in plain view and over time become worn with dog-eared pages from continuous review. I recommend the book to any small business owner. Further I would recommend the book to any department manager that is looking for a structured approach to moving their department forward.

Six Disciplines for Excellence
by Gary Harpst

The Six Disciplines™ Methodology synthesizes and integrates the most fundamental elements of strategic planning, quality management, integrated organizational learning, business process automation, people performance management and measure-driven improvement - and offers a systematic and practical "business-building" approach for small businesses to continually improve and sustain business excellence.

Steven G. Lauck, PMP
President, Lauck PM Consultants

Certified Project Management Professional, trainer, mentor and coach, Operational planning (aligning company vision, objectives and employee goals), Technical magazine Quality Editorial Auditor, Business process change agent and reviewer for The CEO Refresher. To have your book reviewed and featured please send a copy to: Steven G. Lauck, PMP, Lauck PM Consultants, 4204 Dutch Hollow Road, Aurora, IN 47001 .

Many more reviews in The CEO Refresher Archives and the best books of the year here .


Copyright 2006 by Steven G. Lauck. All rights reserved.

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