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Elevate Your Compliance Knowledge

Shingo Model: 3 + 1 Insights to Achieve Organizational Excellence

With compliance in all of its manifestations (safety, security, sustainability, quality, environmental, regulatory, etc.) taking on a more integral role in the operations of an organization it also takes on greater responsibilities. One of these is the pursuit of operational excellence.

Operational excellence refers to an organizational philosophy and management approach that focuses on consistently achieving optimal performance and efficiency in all aspects of business operations. It involves the continuous improvement of processes, systems, and workflows to enhance productivity, reduce waste, and deliver high-quality products or services. Operational excellence is often associated with Lean management principles, Total Quality Management (TQM), and other methodologies that aim to create a culture of continuous improvement.

The Shingo Institute (home of the Shingo Prize) is a non-profit organization that focuses on promoting organizational excellence using a methodology that has gained prominence for its transformative approach to achieving operational excellence and continuous improvement.

Shingo Model - The Shingo Institute
Shingo Model - The Shingo Institute

At the heart of the Shingo Model™ are three pivotal insights that guide organizations toward mission success.

In this article, we delve into these insights along with one that we learned as part of Lean Compliance and explore how these are beneficial to compliance excellence:

  • Insight #1: Ideal Results Require Ideal Behaviour,

  • Insight #2: Purpose and Systems Drive Behaviour,

  • Insight #3: Principles Inform Behaviour, and

  • Insight #4: Programs Elevate Systems (Lean Compliance)

Insight 1: Ideal Results Require Ideal Behaviour

Central to the Shingo Model™ is the understanding that achieving ideal results necessitates cultivating ideal behaviours within an organization. This insight emphasizes the critical role of leadership in setting the tone for expected behaviours. Leaders are urged to inspire and model the behaviours that align with the organization's goals, fostering a culture where everyone is committed to excellence.

By promoting a mindset where individuals take ownership of their actions (along with obligations) and continuously strive for improvement, organizations can create a ripple effect of positive behaviours that lead to optimal outcomes. This insight encourages leaders to not only focus on end results but to also consider the behaviours and practices that drive those results.

Insight 2: Purpose and Systems Drive Behaviour

The second key insight of the Shingo Institute Management System underscores the influence of purpose and systems on shaping organizational behaviour. Purpose serves as a guiding force, aligning the actions of individuals and teams with the overall mission and vision of the organization. When individuals understand the purpose behind their work, they are more likely to engage in behaviours that contribute to the achievement of organizational goals.

Additionally, systems play a crucial role in influencing behaviour. The design and structure of systems within an organization can either support or hinder the desired behaviours. The Shingo approach encourages leaders to examine and optimize systems to ensure they drive behaviours that align with the organization's purpose and goals.

Insight 3: Principles Inform Behaviour

The third insight centres around the idea that principles inform behaviour. The Shingo Institute Management System is built on a set of guiding principles that serve as a compass for decision-making and action. These principles, which include humility, respect, and continuous improvement, are the foundation for creating a culture of excellence.

By embedding these principles into the organizational DNA, leaders can guide behaviour at all levels. Principles inform the choices individuals make, the way teams collaborate, and the overall culture of the organization. This insight emphasizes the importance of aligning actions with enduring principles to foster a sustainable culture of excellence.

Insight 4: Programs Elevate Systems (Lean Compliance)

This insight comes from Lean TCM (Total Compliance Management) emphasizing the idea that management programs elevate system performance. Whereas, systems are designed to resist change by removing variability, management programs introduce change to advance outcomes.

Lean Compliance - Operational Compliance Model
Lean Compliance - Operational Compliance Model

Management programs drive system performance levels needed to advance targeted compliance outcomes. In essence, programs regulate systems towards desired outcomes in the same way that systems regulate processes toward desired outputs. This insight emphasizes the importance that to achieve better outcomes you need programs to elevate systems.


The Shingo Institute’s along with the Lean Compliance Model offer profound approaches to organizational and compliance excellence.

By recognizing the interplay between ideal behaviour, purpose-driven systems and programs, and guiding principles, organizations can create a framework for continuous improvement and mission success.

Embracing these insights empowers leaders and teams to cultivate a culture where behaviours are aligned with organizational goals and obligations, driving sustained excellence and adaptability in a dynamic business environment.



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