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The five pillars of organizational excellence

H. James Harrington (CEO of the Harrington Institute and President of the Walter L. Hurd Foundation. He also serves as COB for a number of organizations. He has been the official quality advisor to the Chinese government since the early 1980s.)

Handbook of Business Strategy

ISSN: 1077-5730

Article publication date: 1 December 2005



Good is no longer good enough. To survive in today’s competitive environment, you need to excel. To excel, an organization needs to focus on all parts of the organization, optimizing the use and effectiveness of all of its resources. After years of working with all types of organizations using many different approaches to improving performance, we have come to realize that there are only five things that need to be managed in order for an organization to excel. We call these five key elements “The five pillars of organizational excellence”. Organizational excellence is designed to permanently change the organization by focusing on managing the five key pillars of the organization. Each of these five organizational pillars is not new by itself. The key to organizational excellence is combining and managing them together. The five pillars are: Pillar I – Process management; Pillar II – Project management; Pillar III – Change management; Pillar IV – Knowledge management; Pillar V – Resource management. All five must be managed simultaneously. Top management’s job is to keep all of them moving ahead at the same time. To concentrate on one or two of them and let the others slide, is a surefire formula for failure.



Harrington, H.J. (2005), "The five pillars of organizational excellence", Handbook of Business Strategy, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 107-114.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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