Amazon Exclusive: John G. Miller Talks About Outstanding! John G. Miller, a Cornell University graduate and founder of QBQ, Inc., has worked with hundreds of Fortune 500 companies and governmental and nongovernmental organizations and thousands of individuals to help them make personal accountability a core value--and become outstanding. Miller, who has appeared on national television and radio, is the author of the bestselling QBQ! The Question Behind the Question and Flipping the Switch. He lives in Denver with his wife, Karen. They have seven children. Be Outstanding!
Outstanding means being superior, striking, exceptional, clearly noticeable—essentially, standing out. People are attracted to outstanding organizations. They want to buy from them, sell to them, invest in them, volunteer at them, and work for them. And as we close out the first decade of the twenty-first century, what better time than this to consider new ideas and implement ways to become better at everything we do so that we can have an outstanding 2010!
I’ve outlined 47 ways that can help make any organization exceptional—whether it’s a corporation, a nonprofit, a small business, a government agency, a church, or a service group. While every reader will no doubt find his or her favorites, these six speak to every organization, no matter what its size or purpose. Choose to Change:
Many organizations have terrific ways of doing things, but outstanding organizations are willing to set aside “the way we’ve always done things” and—while keeping their end goals in mind—recognize when it’s time to do things differently. They know that change will come and that it’s better to initiate change from the inside than have change happen to them from the outside. When the latter takes place, it’s often too late to effectively respond. Keep the Mission Top of Mind:
People will do practically anything (as long as it’s legal and ethical) if they understand why they are doing it—and they’ll do it joyfully, with a full heart. The truth is this: purpose powers passion. The organization’s mission can excite people, giving them fuel, if you will, to do their jobs each day and do them well. Outstanding organizations and their people never forget why they exist. Get Actions in Line with Values:
Espousing values like “customer first,” respect, and “people are our greatest asset” is meaningless unless our behaviors support those ideas. For example, if we embrace the word “humility,” then we have to avoid boasting, bragging, and trying to top each other in our interactions. Or if we say we value learning and continuous improvement, then we need to work to ensure that complacency is driven from our cultures and that we are each coachable in all we do. Integrity is a rare commodity in our world, so let’s allow that light to shine within our organizations. Fight the Fat:
When radio host Dave Ramsey talks about financial issues he instructs people to “bother to bother.” In other words, decide to stay on top of and in control of the dollars. Whether times are good or bad, great organizations don’t get fat. The mistakes organizations commonly commit are things like not paying attention to costs, taking clients for granted, ignoring market trends, failing to improve inefficient systems, disregarding customer input, or not worrying about the competition. When dollars rush in like a dyke upstream has burst, it’s not uncommon to look past those errors and let our standards slip. But outstanding organizations always
fight the fat. Speak Well … Make the Right Impression:
People have perceptions of organization that stem almost entirely from how people representing the organization speak to them. As far as customers are concerned, the people with whom they interact are the organization. No matter how an organization sees itself, it’s what customers think that’s important. And how we speak to anyone with whom we do business is what tells them whether we are outstanding—or not. Listen in All Directions:
I write about listening in three ways: management listening to the people, the people listening to each other, and everyone in the organization listening to the customer. Multitasking is the enemy of good listening. It’s critical that we look each other in the eye with undivided attention, saying, in effect, “You are the most important person in my world at this moment and I want to hear every word you have to say.” Listening is ultimately done by an individual, yet organizations must create cultures that encourage and support listening in all directions and ways. --John G. Miller