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What Are Management Principles?

        posted by , May 22, 2013

What Are Management Principles?

A management principle is a guideline that can be used to improve management results.

Definition: Management Principles

Management Principles are a set of strategies, techniques and ethics that an organization, department, team or individual adopt. They are designed to be timeless statements that define a management culture.


Principle formation is usually a collaborative process that involves all stakeholders in an organizational, departmental or team.

Once in place, principles are used to direct strategy, tactics and decisions.

Examples of Management Principles
Management principles are statements designed to improve decisions and actions. Examples include:

We comply with relevant laws and regulations.

Team strategy will align with organizational strategy.

Business risks are identified and controlled.

We respect the dignity and worth of all individuals.

We encourage the initiative of each employee.

We share information openly.

We fail fast.

We innovate.

We manage quality.

We prioritize people, profits and planet.



So What?

Management principles provide your team with several benefits:

  • Consistency
    Application of principles makes your decisions and actions more consistent.

  • Efficiency
    Principles provide direction for faster decisions and actions.

  • Reduces Politics
    Principles can reduce political infighting by establishing a framework for decisions.

  • Control
    Principles are a control mechanism that can be used by executive managers to direct decisions at every level of an organization.


How to Manage By Principles

The challenge to managing by principles is establishing a good set of principles. This is usually a highly political process.

A good principle strikes a balance. Principles that are too vague or open will have no business relevance. Principles that are too specific and restrictive can damage your business.

The moment you get principles in place. Your teams will use them. A solid set of principles tend to get a great deal of use.

It's important for management to demonstrate commitment to principles by consistently applying them to decisions and strategy.

Next: The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles




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