By Kevin Dean and the Dean Cabinetry Team

At Dean Cabinetry we are working to build people, products, and processes that last.  We understand that this is possible only with a strong and solid foundation.  Our purpose and our principles give us the foundation for success.

As Gary Keller said, “The ultimate source of strength is purpose”.  We know this to be true.  Purpose is what inspired John Dean to quit his accounting job and start building cabinets in his garage.  Purpose is what continues to propel our organization forward for the betterment of our people, our community, and our company. 

Our mission is to be an innovative and astonishingly great kitchen cabinet partner.

We use “The Golden Circle” to guide our company:


We know that people don’t buy what we do, they buy why we do it.  These are our principles, our foundation, our why:

  1. Who are we at Dean Cabinetry?… a family.
  2. What are we the best in the world at?… teaching cabinetry.
  3. What do we deliver to our customers?… pure value.
  4. We are responsible for?… our people, our process, and our products.
  5. Our work is clear and easy because we… plan our work and work our plan (long term thinkers).
  6. Our success is driven by the relentless repetition of our… culture and vision.
  7. When working with people we… seek first to understand then to be understood.
  8. We know that in order to grow, we must be… humble and curious (listen & learn).
  9. To understand the real issue, we must go to the gemba and ask… why, 5 times (consider the alternatives).
  10. What must we do if we want to understand our actions?… reflect and take feedback.
  11. When we walk away from something we… leave it better than we found it.
  12. Every morning we sweep, sort, and standardize to build a… work paradise.
  13. In our work paradise we take our time because… slow is smooth and smooth is fast.  
  14. We follow standard processes that allow us to have… flow.
  15. We don’t own ideas, credit, or blame.  We are always… a team.
  16. In order to cut the waste in half we must first… see the waste.
  17. Our goal each day is to make one… 2-second improvement (safer, simpler, better and faster).
  18. Your success at Dean Cabinetry will be determined by the fact that you are… never satisfied.
  19. What unlocks the fullness of life?… laughter & gratitude.
  20. What does winning look like for us… creating results our clients love, while guaranteeing health & well-being for our employees.

When you read these principles some may resonate with you.  You might be inspired to understand your why.  These questions helped us understand our why:

  • What makes us angry?
  • What makes us proud?
  • What does winning look like?

We also put some deep thought into what we can and cannot control.  We understand that we have direct control over:

  • Who we interact with.
  • Saying “No”.
  • Reading and learning.
  • Our response and our reactions.
The Dean Cabinetry Team in the Shop

Our People

Our employees are the most important part of Dean Cabinetry.  Their personal and professional growth is what drives our company forward.  Our people and our unique culture are what make us different.  It is each of them that makes our business exceptional.  They bring our products and services to life and give us an edge over our competitors.

The purpose of our performance management process is to develop our employees’ unique skills and talents while motivating them to live and breathe our company mission.  It includes feedback, goals, encouragement, and clear expectations.  We want to live by our company values and create well-being for our employees and their families.

Every two months an employee and a human resources representative will conduct a personal development interview, to review their job progress within our company and set new development plans.  Our performance review program provides the basis for better understanding between employees and supervisors regarding their job performance, potential, and development within the company.  Our goal with personal development interviews is to: keep it simple, have frequent interaction, focus on the future, and get employees to self-track.

How do we grow people?
  • We inspire high performers in our organization.  What sets high performers apart?
    • They have the chance to use their strengths every day.
    • Their coworkers are committed to doing quality work.
    • The mission of the company inspires them.
  • Performance
    • We reward good performance, doing our best to tie it to pay.
    • We try to see performance clearly.  So, we understand that the best judge is the team leader.
      • Our team leaders will ask team members future-focused statements regarding their teammates and what they would do with them.
        • I would award this person the highest possible increase and bonus- agree or disagree.
        • I would always want this person on my team- agree or disagree.
        • This person is at risk for low performance- agree or disagree.
        • This person is ready for promotion today -agree or disagree.
    • Fuel future performance- what do great team leaders do?
      • Weekly check-ins = employee engagement
        • Set expectations
        • Review priorities
        • Comment on work
        • Provide coaching and information
Dean Cabinetry’s John Dean Custom Cabinetry

Our Product

The value that we deliver to our customers is our product.  We consider ourselves primarily a service provider and secondarily a materials provider.

When we build, deliver, and install cabinetry we are providing a service as well as materials.   What sets our services apart is our attention to deliver pure value.  This means that we do whatever possible to make the budgeting, design, ordering, and installation as smooth as possible for the client.  We don’t want to hassle them with defective parts, miscommunication, or errors, and so we look to eliminate this waste at every step of the way.  

This is what sets our product apart.  A service that delivers pure value to our customers.

Our Process

We are very strict with our processes.  We have spent a tremendous amount of time developing our standard processes and procedures, and we will continue to invest time and energy into them.  So, it is very critical that we follow them.  We invest in these processes every day when we sweep, sort, and standardize during our 3S time.

Improving our processes as well as strictly following them allows us to stay on the same page.  It creates flow.  Flow is a magical state that we are pursuing.  Imagine a workplace that never has a problem.  Our workflows from department to department, we add only value and deliver that value to our customers.  We have eliminated all the struggle.  This is what flow looks like.  It is beautiful.

We follow standard processes, and we take our time because we know that slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

John Dean, Owner of Dean Cabinetry

This is us

This is who we are and who we strive to be.  We are not perfect.  Yet we are committed to our purpose, because we know that together, with our purpose, we are unstoppable.