Principle Questions — Answered

LOGO FINALQuality IS…an anthology of principles.

Why establish concept to concept relationships?

If principles are understood then the meaning of Quality will follow.


Returning to the questions proposed earlier in this chapter…

How would we identify and extract principles from a book or white paper? 

Identifying concepts is rather straight forward; we just look for the nouns. Identifying principles is another matter.  We need to be trained to hunt for principles.  Hunting is not always successful; a minimum requirement is the existence of that which is hunted.  Using the criteria presented in this chapter can help but the job of presenting knowledge in the form of a principle is the responsibility of the individual espousing to communicate that knowledge. I am striving to do just that in this book. Well written principles are the essence of knowledge linked to a particular domain and its concepts.

When we fail to clearly identify principles we create a void of poor comprehension that will not lead to action.

What are the essential elements or characteristics of a principle?

The key elements are: Concepts relevant to the field of knowledge being addressed; Transitive verbs that focus the concepts on a doable activity associated with a direct object; The absence of limiting or conditional adjectives as modifiers to the transitive verb; The absence of modal verbs (exception: must).  And finally, a principle and associated domain without purpose is very difficult to execute with meaning.

What’s the difference in a principle and a practice or just a statement?

The condition of having the essential elements or characteristics is what separates the principle from a practice or statement. Intrinsically the principle applies universally and a practice only applies under certain conditions.

Are principles action-oriented?

By virtue of a transitive verb a principle is inherently action oriented.

Do all principles always contain at least one concept? 

A principle without concepts is a simple statement of practice. Concept density is a requirement; high density translates to powerful principles.

Can a principle be used as a tool; can it be put to work?

The correct application of principles is the foundation of execution.

How would we write one? 

There are essentially six steps.

  1. Associate a domain of interest.
  2. Identify the purpose of the domain.
  3. Identify all key concept nouns that are associated with the domain.
  4. Connect the concepts with transitive verbs in a coherent way.
  5. Utilize the modal word – must – if appropriate.
  6. Avoid conditional or limiting adjectives.

A simple example…

Domain: Survival

Sub Domain: Surviving on the Road in Cold Environmental Conditions

Sub Domain Purpose: Avoiding frostbite on the road.


Our PrincipleGLOVES must be worn while changing a flat TIRE during a SNOW STORM to avoid FROST-BITE.

Acquiring knowledge is not possible without principles and associated allied concepts. A poorly stated principle leaves the reader possessing keen insight and perception unbalanced.  The Principle Effects outlined in the chapter arm the reader with the tools to hunt for, identify and write principles. Finally, a principle and associated domain without purpose is very difficult to execute with meaning.

The next chapter on paradigms is the third component of a construct that I have labeled the ConPriDigm TM which is also the domain name for this blogged book. The reader will learn that principles and paradigms are closely associated. In fact, the example presented in this chapter regarding tree-ring research is an example of a paradigm. Dr. Grissino-Mayer gives us a hint: “As with any science, tree-ring research is governed by a set of principles or “scientific rules” that must be adhered to or else all research could be flawed.” Paradigms can paralyze an organization or they can shift with new scientific discoveries and/or knowledge.  They are a critical component of the ConPriDigm TM (Concepts, Principles, and Paradigms).

Please enjoy the concept map for principles.


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