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M - P

Mainstay Process

Those processes that directly relate to the mission of the organization and add value to the external customers of the organization.

Manufacturing Mode

The mode of production that arose in the 18th and 19th century around industrial production and the assembly line. It is based on standardized and replaceable product parts, fragmentation of work into simplified tasks, workers hired for the repetition of these tasks, and the bureaucratization of the functions that support the assembly process. Beginning with time and motion studies the science of reducing labor and material use led to significant efficiencies of production. The manufacturing mode eventually spread to service and government work.

Measurement Process

A method that establishes a relationship between a property of interest and a set of classifications or a scale. Measurement systems consist of standard units of measure and procedures for producing values in terms of these units of measure.


Outcomes of a measurement process.

Mistake 1 – Type 1 Error


A mistake made in an attempt to improve results in which an outcome is reacted to as if it came from a special cause, when actually it came from common causes of variation.

Mistake 2 – Type 2 Error


A mistake made in an attempt to improve results in which an outcome is treated as if it came from common causes of variation, when actually it came from a special cause.

Mode of Production


The work culture which organizes tools, values, knowledge, and people to be most productive using the dominant technology and thinking of an era.

Model for Improvement


The Model for Improvement contains two basic components:


  • Three Questions needed to guide any improvement or change effort.

  • The Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) Cycle.

The Model is a flexible framework for focused questions and, if appropriate, the use of application-specific tools and methodology. The three questions are:

  1. What are we trying to accomplish?

  2. How will we know that a change is an improvement?

  3. What change can we make that will result in improvement?

Moral Reasoning


Kohlberg defines three levels of moral reasoning:

  1. The lowest level defines the good as individual well-being, avoiding punishment or gaining rewards.

  2. The next level defines the good in terms of what a person considers good for family or organization as well as for his or herself, without concern for the effect of their actions on those outside their circle.

  3. A broader definition of the common good is what benefits, or at least doesn't harm, all those who may be affected by one’s actions; employees, customers, owners, communities, unborn generations and the natural environment.



Providing the reasons for people to follow your vision, defining motivating relationships, responsibilities, rewards, and recognition for contributions made to the organization.

Motivational Type


The personality types that can be viewed as motivational systems, representing patterns of value drives. In each type, one or more value drives are dominant and determine the strongest motivational values of that type. Described by Freud, Fromm, Maccoby, and Porter.

Moving Range (MR)


A statistic derived from the difference between successive values in a data set. For the X-chart a moving range of two is used to calculate limits.



A widely held, but false belief or idea.


A basic requirement for well-being or success. The need in society that an organization intends to fulfill provides the target for the design and redesign of products and services.

Network Leader

A network leader facilitates collaboration across the organization, disciplines, processes, and roles. Network leaders are followed because of their ability to bring people together to accomplish shared tasks irrespective of where they are in the organization.

Normative Theory

Normative theories predict the results we can expect from changing the way things are done. When the predictions are correct, our theory is confirmed. If the observed results prove the prediction incorrect, we want to understand why, so that the categorization can be updated, made more precise, or the theory abandoned. Good theory building demands that we test to break theories (disconfirm) rather than to test merely to confirm; under what circumstances will our theory prove incorrect?


The rules that govern social behavior. These are not necessarily written rules, but may simply be understandings between people.

Occam's Razor


The principle states that among competing hypotheses that predict equally well, the one with the fewest
assumptions should be selected. More at:

Operational Definition

An operational leader is a person who makes processes function as they are intended. Ideally, operational leaders work interactively with strategic leaders to achieve the organization’s purpose.


The process of managing the efforts of all parts of a system with the purpose of the system as the focus for change.


An administrative and functional structure used to accomplish a purpose. An organization can be studied as a system or collection of systems.


The result of the transformation of inputs in a process. The outcome can be a product or a service.

Pareto Chart

A tool for helping focus our efforts by identifying how frequently categories of events occur.


The process that involves a person or organization that are associated with others in a relationship focused on achieving a common purpose. A partner participates in a relationship in which each member has equal status while working together for the shared purpose. The book identifies a continuum of levels of partnering relationships.

PDSA Cycle

(Plan-Do-Study-Act) a methodology for learning from data and the experience of developing, testing and implementing changes. It is a component of the Model for Improvement.



A systems concept that describes the structure of a person’s intellect, drives and values. Personality, arising in childhood, is relatively permanent over the person’s life. However, a person can develop his or her personality to become more productive. Personality explains the unconscious and conscious motivation, satisfaction, relationships, and way of working of the person. For example, the personality types, Visionary, Caring, Exacting, and Adapting describe different patterns of value drives.

Personality Intelligence


Understanding of values and motivations that drive behavior at work. Understanding the people you lead involves awareness of their strengths, motivations and emotions. It involves learning concepts that
sensitize you to patterns of behavior and opening yourself to emotional attitudes.

Pie Chart


A tool used to show how certain categories make up the whole.

Planned Experimentation


A set of tools for understanding the causes of variation in a variable of interest. It is of particular
interest when there are several factors which all contribute considerably to the variation under study.

Practical Values


Are values required to achieve a leader’s or an organization’s purpose. Practical values are sometimes called guiding principles, targeted behaviors, shared values, operational values.


A quality characteristic of a measurement process that indicates the ability of the process to reproduce its own outcome.


An unsatisfactory situation or deviation from expectations that has become visible.


A set of causes and conditions that repeatedly come together in a sequential series of steps to transform inputs into outcomes.

Process Improvement

The continuous study of the cause and effect mechanisms in a process in order to reduce variation, remove complexity, optimize important quality-characteristics, and thereby improve customer satisfaction.

Process Improvement Team

A team created to standardize, improve the capability, or simplify an existing process or define and develop a new process.

Process Owner

The person(s) who has authority to make fundamental changes to the process.

Profound Knowledge


A concept developed by Dr. W. Edwards Deming by to understand and optimize organizations. The system of profound knowledge has four parts:

  • Appreciation of a System

  • Understanding Variation

  • Theory of Knowledge

  • Psychology

Project Charter

The Project Charter helps teams and individuals manage their efforts and reduce unwanted variations from the original aim as well as know when they have completed their project. The charter is usually framed around the three questions related to the Model for Improvement.

Project Charter Approval Form

This form is designed to communicate the purpose of a team or individual involved in an improvement effort and spells out what is trying to be accomplished, who has responsibilities to do each part of the process, and how results will be measured. This form facilitates the answering the first two questions in the Model for Improvement; 1) What are we trying to accomplish? 2) How will we know that a change is an improvement?



Purpose describes why the organization exists and how the organization meets its obligations to customers. A powerful statement of purpose will be meaningful to all stakeholders. Many organizations use mission to describe the organization’s purpose.

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