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F - L



A variable being studied as a causal variable for some particular response variable. The term is of particular importance in planned experimentation.

Flow Diagram


A graphic representation of a series of activities that define a process. The diagram shows the stages of a process as inputs are being transformed into outcomes..



Perception of the significance of events by the leader before they have occurred based on the leader’s subject matter expertise, experience, research, scanning, and ability to sense dynamic trends.

Form for Collecting Data


Form for Collecting Data. See Data Collection Form.

Force Field Analysis


A method for documenting and analyzing forces for, and against, a change.

Four Ps that Define the Organization Viewed as a System


Purpose, Practical Values, Processes, and People interact in an organizational system to achieve the vision.

Frequency Plot


A tool to display data which presents to the user basic information about the location, shape, and spread of a set of data. (histogram)

Fundamental Change


Fundamental changes include the following (also see Reactive Change):

  • Design or redesign of some aspect of the system

  • Necessary for improvement beyond problems

  • Fundamentally alters the system and what people do

  • Impacts several measures in a positive direction; increasing quality while also reducing costs

  • Long term impact

Gap survey


This survey, originally designed by Michael Maccoby, is used to stimulate engagement, dialogue, and responsibility for improvement. Respondents score each survey item on both its Importance to them and the Level Today the item is currently being achieved. The aggregate score for each item’s Level Today is subtracted from the aggregate for Importance. The difference is the Gap for the item. The Gaps indicate how far an organization is from its ideals in the view of the survey participants.

General Description


Is the first part of a charter and provides an initial orientation to the team's activities. It may communicate preliminary guidance on the appropriateness of these activities.



A mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when members’ striving for consensus overrides their motivation to appraise alternative courses of action.

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Hawthorne Effect


The Hawthorne Works of Western Electric were the site of an industrial design experiment in the 1930’s. The results are often mistakenly interpreted to mean that any new workplace experiment will result in short-lived productivity gains that last only until the observers leave and the novelty wears off.

Hierarchy of Needs


The idea created by Abraham Maslow that human need can be described in five levels with each level having to be satisfied before a supposed higher level can be reached and satisfied:

  • Physiological needs

  • Safety needs

  • Love and belonging

  • Esteem

  • Self-actualization

Idealized Future


The vision of an organization defined operationally in terms of the 4 Ps: purpose, practical values, people, and processes.



The self-definition we chose. Our identity integrates and gives meaning to our value drives.



Three parts to the definition;

  • Improvement is the result of some design or redesign of the system that was predicted.

  • Result is positive and relevant, and

  • A lasting impact on measures (balancing) that matters to the organization

Inductive Learning


The theory of prediction based on observations; for example, predicting the next event based upon observations. The danger of induction: All swans observed are White, therefore all swans are white.

The PDSA cycle combines both inductive and deductive learning to consider circumstances more holistically.



Making a change that results in something new. The application of knowledge to produce new knowledge; Innovation is an important part of improvement through the design of new products and processes.



Goes into the process and is transformed. Inputs typically come from another process or an external supplier. The arrival of inputs often trigger the performance of a process.



The interactive social character is shaped in families where both parents have careers, and authority in the family is shared. Children raised and socialized in these families when entering the workforce are adaptive team members looking to create value, make a contribution and are not necessarily loyal to the organization. Leaders need to understand the motivation of this group to engage them in their vision.



The mutual dependence and interaction among the elements, people, and processes of a system. Interdependence means that components of a system do not work independently.

Internal Suppliers and Customers


Suppliers and customers within the system under study.

Intrinsic Motivation


Wanting to do an activity for the challenge, pleasure or satisfaction of doing it. The activity engages individuals’ values and skills.



The tendencies in the personality manifested in more reserved, quiet, and shy behavior; versus extroversion.



The tendencies in the personality manifested in more reserved, quiet, and shy behavior; versus extroversion.

Lateral thinking


A term coined by Edward DeBono for methods that help the user to think in new patterns and channels.

Leadership Philosophy


The leadership philosophy includes at least four elements, based on the answers to these questions:

  • What is the purpose of this organization?

  • What ethical and moral reasoning determines the key decisions we make?

  • What practical values do we need to practice to achieve the purpose?

How do we define goals and results so they are consistent with our purpose and values?

Leading indicators


Leading indicators are measures that help to predict outcome measures that are only available periodically. These measures begin to change the larger outcome measures of the system yield evidence of a change. They predict what is likely to happen in the future



A production process and redesign discipline that aims to eliminate the expenditure of resources for anything that does not add other value for the end customer. Lean aims to drive out waste from the system. The purpose of Lean is to create or preserve value with less work and cost. Lean has been popularized based on the work described in the Toyota Production System (TPS). TPS is renowned for its focus on reduction of the original Toyota seven wastes; transportation, inventory, motion, waiting, over-processing, over-production, and defects.

Learning Organization

Some defining attributes:

  • Developed as a social system where all the parts interact to achieve the purpose of serving patients

  • Designing and redesigning the system of delivering care decreases per capita cost while maintaining or improving patient outcomes

  • Learning from practice is widely shared and used for innovation and improvement

  • Partners with suppliers, client organizations and community organizations

  • Providers collaborate across disciplines, with patients and their families

  • Learning is used to inform the community, aid in the prevention of illness, and improve population health.



Used to identify where actions and fundamental changes can take place in a system which can lead to a large sustainable impact on system measures and outcomes.

Linkage of Processes

A method to develop a view of a system composed of processes linked together to accomplish the purpose of the system.

Lower Boundary Limit (LBL)

A value calculated for a CUSUM chart used somewhat analogously to a control limit which helps one decide whether there has been a shift in the process mean. Part of a Shewhart control chart calculated from process data.  

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