Customer Reviews: Results That Last: Hardwiring Behaviors That Will Take Your Company to the Top
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In the Introduction to this book, Quint Studer makes the following assertion: "Standardize the right leadership practices and you will find that organizational performance improves across the board...and stays improved." More specifically, results-driven leadership at all levels and in all areas will achieve and then sustain outstanding performance throughout the given enterprise. That's obvious. Here's the challenge: To get the right goals, the right behavior, and the right processes in proper alignment. More specifically:

1. Have stretch goals that everyone understands and supports, then measure performance in terms of progress toward achievement of those goals. At all times, know what is most important and focus on doing it.

2. View behavior from two separate but related perspectives: values and productivity. At companies such as GE and Southwest Airlines, for example, there is zero tolerance of inappropriate behavior no matter how productive the given offender may be. At the same time, people are expected to produce results (Jack Welch calls it "hitting the numbers") or seek career opportunities elsewhere.

Note: I agree with Studer that the behavior of all supervisors must be "standardized," at least to the extent that they have impeccable character, know their stuff, provide constructive criticism whenever it is needed, earn and remain worthy of trust, and do everything humanly possible and appropriate in the best interests of those entrusted to their care. That said, allowances must be made for differences in personality, lifestyle decisions, avocations, etc.

3. Make all processes as simple as possible...but no simpler. Many processes streets that remain essentially unchanged (except for occasional repairs) even as residents of homes, merchants and their customers, and students enrolled in schools come and go. This is especially true of the process by which an organization such as the U.S. Marines develops leadership. "Many are called, a few are chosen" and then all receive rigorous formal training with hands-on daily supervision as they are absorbed by the culture and identify with its values, meanwhile strengthening individual skills, enriching personal knowledge, and - over time - adding increasing value to the organization.

According to Studer, "Evidence-based leadership (EBL) enables us to create results that last. What is EBL? It's a strategy centered on using the current `best practices' in leadership - practices that are proven to redsult in the best possible outcomes. The `evidence,' in this context, is the reams of data collected from study after study that aim to determine what people really want and need from their leaders. When leaders apply these tried-and-true tactics to every corner of our organizations, we achieve consistent excellence. Our organization's success is no longer dependent on individuals. It's hardwired. No matter who leaves, the excellence remains."

Throughout his narrative, Studer explains how EBL enables those who practice it to identify and deal with "High, Middle, and Low Performers," recognize the five critical elements employees want from managers, "manage up" to improve the performance of those they supervise, measure performance fairly and consistently, improve employee selection and retention, "harvest" intellectual capital, take a customer-centric approach, and build a culture around service, and serve as a role model for effective communication, cooperation, and collaboration.


Those who share my regard for this book are urged to check out Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths And Total Nonsense: Profiting From Evidence-Based Management co-authored by Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton as well as their earlier book, The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action as well as Edward Lawler's Talent: Making People Your Competitive Advantage, Robert Mittelstaedt's Will Your Next Mistake Be Fatal?: Avoiding the Chain of Mistakes Which Can Destroy Your Company, Michael Levine's Broken Windows, Broken Business: How the Smallest Remedies Reap the Biggest Rewards, George S. Day and Paul J.H. Schoemaker's Peripheral Vision: Detecting the Weak Signals That Will Make or Break Your Company, and Sydney Finkelstein's Why Smart Executives Fail and What You Can Learn from Their Mistakes.
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Many organizations can squeeze out good results in the short term. Sustainability is often the bigger challenge.

Leadership is the key - and best metric - associated with organizational achievement. A workforce will typically have a range of managerial and leadership styles, and that diversity is usually a good thing. But a certain amount of standardization helps employees manage expectations and, therefore, consistency in results.

People perform best when they regard their work as purposeful, beneficial, and meaningful. This book provides some good ideas on creating and maintaining such an environment.
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on November 7, 2007
Those familiar with the author or The Studer Group's work, may assume that this is another look at how to better manage America's hospitals. Nothing could be further from the truth. The author's direct writing style, supported by many real life examples, and a goodly portion of common sense make this a valuable addition to any manager's bookshelf - or better yet, their briefcase.

The book has several sample instruments that help the reader move from having an interest in the subject of leadership to actually doing it. As a working management consultant, I've ordered copies of this book for the leadership team of my current struggling client - who is not in healthcare.

Quint's recommendations may sound difficult to some and too simple to others, but, in my mind, they are practical and beneficial to any organization, small or large, that wants to step up their achievement.
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on April 5, 2015
This series of books produced by the Studer Group are some of the very best business books I have ever read. If you're involved in business administration or are considering an administrative position do yourself a favor and read these books. You'll be glad that you did.
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on March 3, 2014
Every manager or person in a leadership role should read this book. The first 30 pages alone are essential to understanding your team and how to deal with people on all parts of the spectrum (low to high performers). Invaluable and easy to read. Highly recommend.
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on December 10, 2010
I'm an expert on human emotions and motivation, and I wrote a book on the subject last year titled, "Primal Management: Unraveling the Secrets of Human Nature to Drive High Performance." In Primal Management I argue that human beings are elegantly designed to be self-motivated, self-managing and self-organizing without the need for an army of overseers or thick rule book.

At first glance, "Results that Last" seemed diametrically opposed to my naturalistic formulation. When I first started reading, I was put-off by the structure, procedures and systems-of-control that Quint Studer was recommending. It all seemed too machine-like, oppressive, out-dated, top-down, and command-and-control; like a management tome from 1942.

Then I discovered that underneath all the strategy, tactics and control, the book had a heart. The leadership recommendations that I made in Primal Management, it turns out, were nearly identical to Studer's. Studer's discipline and structure seemed less onerous once I discovered that I agreed with the overall direction he was headed. After all, if there is a way to do something that yields the best results, then why not drill it into people and make sure everybody complies.

Studer's structure made more sense once he pointed out that most companies have no standardized leadership "best practices." Managers dream up their own, idiosyncratic approaches based upon God knows what; maybe war movies, John Wayne westerns, or perhaps uncle Gus's incoherent babbling over Thanksgiving dinner. Studer's discipline, it turns out, was calculated to bring order to the slipshod chaos that reigns inside most corporations. Studer is particularly tough on the way managers treat, or mistreat, their employees. For example, he tells manager to:

1) Interact daily with each employee and record the results of these conversations in a log book,
2) Get to know each employee personally and develop authentic relationships with them,
3) Forget about perks like corner offices and executive parking spaces because they are stupid and disrespectful,
4) Ask employees what you can do for them to make their work experience more pleasant and productive,
5) Ask employees for their ideas and suggestions and act on those suggestions,
6) Find out what employees are doing right and recognize them for it (preferably with hand written notes sent to their homes),

Studer believes, and I agree, that a manager's top priority ought to be to serve his/her employees, not lord over them. The servant-leadership approach works best because it produces passionate and motivated employees who provide superior products and services delivered with a smile.

Finally, the controls that Studer recommends are mostly temporary. They are needed at the outset to break bad habits and get managers headed in a new, more-enlightened, direction. Once the new behaviors have become hard-wired habits, the controls can be gradually phased out.

What little resistance I had left to the disciplined approach melted away when I read the chapter on purpose. Without a sense of passion and purpose, Studer argues, a company is just a shell filled with disengaged employees who don't really give a damn. A sense of purpose is the "flywheel" that powers an organization forward to excellence.

In summary, my initial impression of 'Results That Last" was wrong. Quint Studer convinced me that a hard hand is needed to break bad habits. I no longer believe that my clients will automatically do the right thing just because I present them with a convincing, well-supported argument. Human beings are creatures of habit and habits are hard to break. I therefore don't mind a little structure and discipline if it brings out the best in human nature. Great job Quint!
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on October 18, 2007
If last generation business was all about strategic thinking and world dominance through growth, this generation's task is much harder to manage and measure - it's all about people. What motivates people, how they communicate - and when - how the organization "uses" them, and how they control customer services, and thereby profits. Studer offers a series of chapter by chapter tools to get a handle on all these critical human factors, and he offers positive and sensible, direct methods to make change. This is a useful book in a difficult area, the best one I've seen since all the buzz about teams. I recommend it for C-level execs and managers/supervisions, especially in healthcare and other people-based areas.
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on December 17, 2007
When I can across this book, I noticed that it had relatively few reviews for a book that has hit the Wall Street Journal's Best-selling list. After reading it, I understood why - although an easy read, it is so brimming with various leadership tactics that it is not easy to summarize for a complete review. While most business books are based upon a sound idea which could, and should, have been expressed in a ten page HBR article and not stretched into a 250+ page book, this one is quite the opposite. Even though it is written in plain spoken, dialogue format, with plenty of story examples; this book feels like a condensed compilation of management ideas and leadership tactics organized around the author's very successful career experience in the healthcare industry. The outcome is a page-turner of prescriptive to-do's that offer something for every key leadership issue, with a special emphasis on establishing goals and measurement of results.

The book is dedicated to the development of a culture of performance excellence - an excellent culture is declared more important than an excellent strategy. Each chapter is linked to an "Evidence-based Leadership" graphic and one of its three components - Aligned Goals; Aligned Behavior; Aligned Processes - as the drivers for hardwiring performance.

The book opens with Studer's three most important leadership tactics: Sort employees (called high, middle, and low conversations); Use walk-about-management, but make it purposeful (called rounding for outcomes); look for and speak about the positive & contribution from others (called managing up - rather than talking down, I concluded). Each chapter contains recommended steps for implementing these tactics.

The next section is called "The Core", and introduces Studer's organizational flywheel with the three elements; Passion (Self-Motivation), Principles (Prescriptive To Do's), & Results (Bottom Line) revolving around Peoples Personal Values - purpose, worthwhile work, and making a difference. Taking 'Self-Motivation' at its word, there are no tactics for integrating an individual's passion into organizational performance. And, even for leaders, ME Inc. must give way to Business Inc. thru standardization tactics devoted to reducing leadership variance. Prescriptive to-do's and results measurement are the focus for the author's hardwiring process. Goals and measurement are organized under five performance pillars - Service, Quality, People, Finance, and Growth.

The book then moves thru an Employee Tactics section and a Customer Tactics section. Satisfied employees are at the top of the list - an employee survey to diagnose satisfaction is recommended, perhaps using the Gallup ("First, Break all the Rules") Organization's 12 key questions as a basis. Know 'what' is important to your employees, reward and recognize, and many other tactics for helping employees feel that their job is worthwhile and that they can make a difference are part of the employee tactics section. A service culture underpins the customer tactics section.

I liked the book for its many useful and practical tactics for focusing an organization on its performance goals - almost all of which are applicable outside of the healthcare industry. A word of caution is advised: the book does at times feel like a Studer Group marketing brochure and its 'leader-as-hero' underpinnings give some tactics an inauthentic feel. However, the many useful ideas are worth these distractions.

Dennis DeWilde, author of
"The Performance Connection"
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on June 22, 2011
It is easy to read. It is written in conversational style. It should be a requirement for every manager to read; especially new managers. It answers so many questions with practical answers that can be implemented without high cost. Formal education provides students with conceptional theories and history of management but this book provides detailed applications that bring on the desired results. I am eager and excited again as a manager. This book is worth every penny spent! And the contact information given with the book opens up other opportunities for enlightenment. Yes enlightenment!
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Results That Last is an excellent companion to the remarkable series of books that Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton about creating and implementing superior strategies (The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action,Alignment: Using the Balanced Scorecard to Create Corporate Synergies,Strategy Maps: Converting Intangible Assets into Tangible Outcomes, and The Strategy-Focused Organization: How Balanced Scorecard Companies Thrive in the New Business Environment).

Researchers report that only about a third of all strategies are successfully implemented. Many couldn't be implemented because the concept was too difficult to do. Others fail because the management cannot bring the right actions to bear. For this latter group, Results That Last can be quite helpful.

Quint Studer has taken the research literature on best practices in motivation, satisfaction, improvement, coordination, communication, and implementation and spelled out a series of leadership and management processes that will help you apply those findings. Even someone who doesn't think of himself or herself as talented in leadership or management will get a lot more done with these methods. For most, it will be more valuable than an MBA degree.

I have two cautions about the book:

1) If your strategy is a mistaken one, you'll still flop.

2) Mr. Studer's experience seems to be mostly in hospitals and consulting. As such there's a lot of fine-grain application in other industries the book doesn't describe. You'll have to find that on your own. By referring to the source best practice studies, you'll fill in some of that gap.
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