Seeing Excellence is a book about teams, the lifeblood of
organizations. Seeing Excellence is organized around 10
essential team disciplines, including lateral leadership. The book is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
A preview and author's bio are available here.
Art in a Procurement Manual story from Chapter 10 that has
captured imaginations internationally. Are you this creative?
Seeing Excellence has
been adopted by Procurement U as a companion text to NASPO's
State and Local Government Procurement: A
Practical Guide. A
crosswalk identifies Seeing Excellence stories,
activities, and additional resources relevant to the Guide.
A Learning Journey to Seeing Excellence, Chemeketa Community College, Oregon,
November 30, 2017. This was the last class in the Principles of
Public Procurement Course, where Seeing Excellence
was used as a companion
text to NASPO's State and Local Government
Procurement: A Practical Guide. This session explains the evolution
of Seeing Excellence out of the Colorado Division
of Finance and Procurement. The journey includes
hands-on practice of team disciplines, key stories from
the book, and stories later discovered that showcase the
richness of the procurement profession.
Wisconsin Association of
Public Procurement/VALUE procurement cooperative 2018
Spring Conference, March 15, 2018. Morning
Seeing Excellence: Learning from Great Procurement
Teams, and an afternoon session on
Tales from the Dark Side.
Confessions of a Contracting "Bottleneck", in the
February 2008 issue of NCMA's Contract Management magazine.
This article looked back on a
process of reviewing of 3,000 contracts per year, and
how current Lean principles and queue theory could have
improved the process. The confessions included not
knowing what a "bottleneck" is, focusing too narrowly on
the legal resource capacity, ineffective management of
the queue (inbox), the absence of an economic framework
for managing the queue, and not realizing that these
issues were the on front line of the
The Precision, Accuracy, and Utility of Numerical
Evaluations in Best-Value Procurements. Part 1
published on LinkedIn Pulse, January 2018. Chapter 6 of
Seeing Excellence, Use Meaningful Measures of Merit,
covers measurement as an essential team discipline.
Part 1 of the article dives deeper into the issue of
errors and subjectivity in proposal evaluations.
Part 2 of the article discusses modeling
of best-value tradeoff decisions with spreadsheets and
the key to effective evaluations: collaboration.
"Spreadsheets don't decide, people do."
Kaizen and the Sound Transit IT Investment Playbook,
December/January 2018. Kaizen, the Japanese
culture of continuous improvement, was introduced to the
West largely through research and writing about the
Toyota Production System. Read how Sound Transit,
Washington, used a Kaizen event to improve its IT
Coming . . .
SCOPEVision was a quality management system that grew out of the Colorado
Division of Finance and Procurement. Seeing Excellence was written using SCOPEVision scopes to identify stories showcasing exceptional teams. SCOPE
(Systematic Controls, Oversight, and Policy Evaluation) was first created in
2002 by the division as a way to improve policies related to statewide
procurement, contracting, and financial controls. The SCOPE
process emphasized customer involvement and cross-functional problem solving.
SCOPE was aimed at streamlining policies to make sure the division was
not sub-optimizing controls unnecessarily at the expense of system-wide
performance. SCOPEVision evolved into its current emphasis
on execution and improving knowledge and awareness about problem-solving and
quality in general—developing team knowledge,
skills, and abilities so organizations can sustain improvement efforts.
A "scope" is defined as an "instrument for viewing."
built on that image from 2002-2005, using the scopes as visual metaphors for the essential
of any continuous improvement effort or change initiative in a business or organization.
added three additional scopes in 2006: stethoscope, horoscope, and
Cinemascope for disciplines needed to sustain the team’s efforts—risk and
change management, learning, and lateral leadership. The book, Seeing Excellence: Learning from Great Procurement Teams, used the scope metaphors to find stories
that illustrate effective teams, their use of 10 team disciplines, and the
five principles that their lateral leaders displayed
is arranged in a way that
its chapters align with the SCOPEs that represent the essential steps in
continuous improvement, project management, risk and change management,
organizational learning, and lateral leadership.
- Focus the Team's Purpose. Keep purpose gyroscopically in
mind. How will you know you succeeded? Continually clarify
the team's purpose. Purpose informs the essential elements of
decision making. Chapter 1 of Seeing Excellence
identifies key questions regarding team purpose.
- Find opportunities: Practice the Art of the Question.
Use questions effectively to identify the needs of your customers and
stakeholders. Frame problems as opportunities whenever you
can. Chapter 2 of Seeing Excellence gives teams tools
for defining opportunities.
- Learn from the stars. Find and learn
from best practices. Keep an eye on system performance and the
Chapter 3 of Seeing Excellence has ideas on what to ask
the "stars" when you begin a continuous improvement journey.
- Step to their side often: Help mold and promote the
Team. Use facilitative leadership. Find the right
kaleidoscopic composition, pay attention to early stages of team
formation, nudge toward development of team norms, and support
the team during performance. Chapter 4 of Seeing
Excellence has a checklist to help you diagnose one of the
most central team activities: meetings.
Use just enough structure: Plan, communicate, and follow-up.
Identify the needs of stakeholders. Plan by working
backward. Then think ahead during project execution.
Chapter 5 of Seeing Excellence has tools to help
Use meaningful measures of merit. Find and use
meaningful measures that reduce uncertainty in decision-making using
balanced financial, process, and outcome measures. Get
stakeholder buy-in to measures. Chapter 6 of Seeing Excellence
describes one of the most useful Microsoft Excel tools to
help a team measure preferences.
First ask, how? Then
why? Then decide.
Uses analytical tools to
map processes, find root causes at the heart of problems,
experiment with pilots to test solutions, and effectively
recommend or make decisions.
Use decision retrospects. Chapter 7 of Seeing Excellence includes examples of how process maps, Ishikawa diagrams, and decision-making tools are
Manage risk and change. Chapter 8 of Seeing Excellence has
tools like premortems to help assess the likelihood and impact of risk to a project.
It uses examples to apply one of the most well known models for
change management, the cousin of risk management. Resistance
to change is often the most significant risk.
- Keep learning and make it stick. HoroSCOPE
is the visual metaphor for organizational learning. Use team
after-action reviews. Build structures
for informal learning to create tacit knowledge. Simplify, surprise, make it concrete and
emotional, and use stories — the Chip
Heath and Dan Heath Made to Stick! model
— to promote networked learning and
sustain improvement. Answer the Why, What, How, Who, Where,
and When’s of learning opportunities. Reflect on experiences to
learn. Chapter 9 of Seeing Excellence has
a useful model for managing the team's and your own learning.
- Lead laterally: Choose to Help. We chose Cinemascope®,
a 1950s widescreen technology widely credited with
bringing audiences back into theaters, as our visual metaphor.
It is SCOPEVision’s visual metaphor for leadership.
Well-respected directors lead from the side to bring the best
out of their actors and production teams. Help the team keep
purpose in mind, use questions effectively to help the team
learn, use just enough structure to help organize thinking and
action, help promote collaboration and feedback by stepping to
their side often, and help the team engage by committing your
time and attention. Chapter 10 of Seeing
Excellence has useful descriptions of negotiations, the
elements of persuasion, and tips on embracing conflict.