The Book's Construct

Pursuing Excellence is a leadership book. It doesn't discuss improved approaches to kaizen, gemba, or kanban. It does discuss how our companies, through a values-based, systems approach, can take the proceeds from these tactical efforts to realize long-term, transformational improvement.


The book walks through a framework to affect the environment, culture, and strategy necessary for our companies to realize excellence in performance. The Lens of Operational Excellence outlines this framework. Each chapter is an element of the lens which discusses the common parameters that must be optimized to produce uncommon goodness.


The discussion doesn’t provide direction to "do it this way." Rather, the book culls ideas from hundreds of leadership and management books, theories, and models. It combines these with learning from advanced leadership education and certifications along with nearly thirty years leading people in operational environments. I’ve coalesced these different ideas and experiences to present concepts intended to stimulate thoughts within the reader of just what may be possible.


And I want to emphasize this is a simple book. An easy to read essay intended to be finished in a few short sittings. While one could argue the content as complex, I chose a common-sense presentation over a technical approach. My earlier books contained hundreds of endnotes from extensive bibliographies. This one has far fewer notes and only a few references. That was intentional.


For this work, I started with the end in mind. I’m seeking to improve the reader’s experience while providing a roadmap that can help companies move from average to excellent—to achieve Operational Excellence. And I attempt this not by explaining how to do these things, but by providing the stimulant to change how we think about these things.

Part I Things That Are and That Could Be

  • Ch 1 - Start with the Beginning but Focus on the End

    • A Very Brief History of Excellence

    • Quality Management Principles

    • Continuous Improvement

    • What Operational Excellence Looks Like

    • Communicating Our Intent

    • Leading the Movement to Excellence

Figure II.jpg
Part II Things We Don't See


  • Ch 2 - Validating Our Values and Beliefs

    • What We Believe and Value

    • Documenting What We Believe

    • Measuring What We Value

  • Ch 3 - Honing Our Culture

    • The Way Things Get Done Around Here

    • Learning

    • Friction

    • Victimhood

    • Deviance

    • Toxicity

  • Ch 4 - Clarifying Our Leadership

    • Leadership vs. Management

    • Leadership Style

    • Management Skills

    • Decision-Making

  • Ch 5 - Aligning Our Strategy

    • Alignment

    • Goals and Objectives

    • Organizational Strategy

    • Strategic Goal Deployment

  • Ch 6 - Integrating Our Systems and Structures

    • Systems Thinking

    • Managing Complexity

    • Risk and Opportunity Thinking

    • Our Changing Organizational Construct

    • Fragile vs. Robust

  • Ch 7 - Understanding Our MarketSpace

    • Market Life Cycles and Leadership

    • Black Swans, Blue Oceans and Red Herrings

    • Quality 4.0

Figure III.jpg
Part III - Things We Do See


  • Ch 8 - Engaging Our People

    • The Business of People

    • Engagement

    • Empowerment

    • Accountability

    • Teamwork and Individualism

  • Ch 9 - Improving Our Processes

    • Our Written Rules for How Work Gets Done

    • Why Good People Do Bad Things

    • Problem-Solving

  • Ch 10 - Realizing Our Products

    • Why Dominates What

    • Design Thinking

    • Innovation

    • Quality Assured

Figure IV.jpg
Part IV - Things the Customer Sees

  • Ch 11 - Optimizing the Customer Experience

    • The Purpose of Business

    • Customer Assurance

    • Internal vs. External Focus

    • An Example of Excellence

Figure V.jpg
Part V - Why These Things Matter


  • Ch 12 - Application

    • Cost, Price, and Value

    • Analytics

    • Measuring Performance

    • Management Systems

    • Conclusion