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The Outstanding Organization: Generate Business Results by Eliminating Chaos and Building the Foundation for Everyday Excellence Hardcover – July 3, 2012
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Winner of The Shingo Research and Professional Publication Award!
After two decades in the trenches of helping companies design and build better, more efficient operations, Karen Martin has pinpointed why performance improvement programs usually fail: Chaos, the sneaky but powerful force that frustrates customers, keeps business leaders awake at night, and saps company morale.
In The Outstanding Organization, Karen offers a toolbox for combating chaos by creating the organizational conditions that will allow your improvement efforts to return greater gains.
Proven, practical, and surprisingly simple, Karen's system focuses on four key behaviors for organizational excellence--Clarity, Focus, Discipline, Engagement--that, once instilled into a company's DNA, open the door to sustainable growth and profit. This well-organized, inviting-to-read guide reveals everything you need to know about:
- How the lack of clarity and focus adds millions of dollars of unnecessary labor expense and slows progress on all fronts
- How you can gain a competitive edge by adopting the type of disciplined behaviors typically found in the military, science, law enforcement, sports, and the arts
- Why you should stop worrying about employee satisfaction--and start concerning yourself with employee engagement
- Why adopting various improvement approaches without building a foundation for success won't solve your problems--and will likely create more chaos
Although you don't like the chaos that you're currently coping with, you've probably come to accept it. You don’t have to if you follow the path Karen lays out.
This no-nonsense book helps you get to the crux of the problem, so you can inject the sensible, disciplined calm that enables the levels of performance and innovation mandated by today's business environment--and help your organization become truly outstanding.
Praise for The Outstanding Organization
"Too often, outstanding performance seems out of reach. Karen Martin explains, with elegant simplicity, why so many organizations 'can't get there from here.' Better yet, she provides clear, actionable advice on building a foundation that will allow anyone to achieve excellence."
-Matthew E. May, author, The Laws of Subtraction
"This fast-moving book gives managers a series of practical, proven strategies and tools to improve performance to get better results immediately."
-Brian Tracy, author, Full Engagement!
"It is within our grasp to create an outstanding organization, but it won't happen without focus and attention. Karen Martin explores organizations that have made this transformation, and she unlocks their secrets for you. Read this book, apply the principles exposed, and you will achieve similar success."
-Richard Sheridan, CEO, Menlo Innovations
"Karen Martin shares her extensive experience assisting companies in their improvement efforts and identifies capabilities common among organizations that have achieved sustainable outstanding success. Especially noteworthy is Karen's discussion of the Plan-Do-Study-Adjust management cycle. Adapt it as you need, adopt it because you must."
-John Shook, Chairman and CEO, Lean Enterprise Institute
"Powerful and motivating! Whether you are performing aerial feats in a super-sonic fighter jet at low altitude or plotting improvement efforts from the corporate boardroom, this book will help you take your organizational performance to new heights!"
-Scott Beare, former Lead Solo Pilot, Blue Angels
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"Too often, outstanding performance seems out of reach. Karen Martin explains, with elegant simplicity, why so many organizations 'can't get there from here.' Better yet, she provides clear, actionable advice on building a foundation that will allow anyone to achieve excellence." -- Matthew E. May "Author of The Laws of Subtraction"
"A powerful model of what makes a high-performance organization. " -- Jeffrey Liker "Toyota Way"
From the Publisher
Karen Martin has been building, managing, and improving operations for more than 20 years. As principal consultant for Karen Martin & Associates, LLC, she is a recognized thought leader in applying Lean thinking and the psychology of change to office, service, and knowledge work environments. Her diverse client list includes Fortune 500 companies, as well as small businesses, government agencies, nonprofits, and start-ups. She is the coauthor of The Kaizen Event Planner, codeveloper of Metrics-Based Process Mapping, instructor for the University of California, San Diego's Lean Enterprise program, and industry advisor to the University of San Diego's Industrial and Systems Engineering program. She lives in San Diego.
- Publisher : McGraw Hill; 1st edition (July 3, 2012)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 240 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0071782370
- ISBN-13 : 978-0071782371
- Item Weight : 1.09 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.4 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,100,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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The tight connections with the agile mindset are also apparent to me as an agile practitioner in my work serving teams. While I have seen high performing teams, I have never seen an outstanding organization. What an experience it must be taking the journey with a coach like Karen.
My favorite parts of the book are the best discussion I ever read of Plan Do Study Adjust and why that fits better than PDCA, the story of the Blue Angels, the why and when of pairing, building discipline through practice and coaching, and the entire section on building engagement. These sections resonate with how I work and want to work and the book made it more clear to me.
The book is short and that leads to the one change that would have made the book even better to me. While most of the book’s ideas I have read or practiced, there were a few concepts that I wanted to know more about and her experience in implementing. That was the catchball, kaizen event and A3 Management. I found my self yearning for her to go into a lower level of detail.
I discovered Karen’s work via an agile related discussion in social media. After reading the Outstanding Organization, I am glad I was paying attention to what was being said. My problem now is to pick another of her books that fits my role best, read it and determine what I can apply.
The Outstanding Organization explores these sources of chaos in depth and offers sound and proven ways to address it. It's probably worth repeating here again, Karen believes organizational chaos is so pervasive we don't even see it or notice it. It's like air. It's everywhere and we really don't see it. In fact, it's so significant it frequently undermines all other improvement and transformation efforts we undertake.
In the book, Karen states:
"If you want to break this cycle and start getting consistently excellent results--to be an outstanding organization--you have to start not with methodologies or tools, but by creating the conditions that allow for consistency and excellence. You can't start by attempting to build a skyscraper on a cracked foundation. You have to start by fixing the foundation."
In my opinion, that's exactly where most organizations go wrong. They start with a methodology or tool and most fail repeatedly. Then the next new thing shows up and there's no shortage of people who are happy to jump into the abyss again. The pattern repeats itself. So how long has this been going on... twenty, thirty or more years? I've seen or heard of it enough times to cry out in despair.
There is SO much more greatness and awesomeness in this book that I can hardly do it justice here in this review. I hope my words will motivate you to explore The Outstanding Organization further. If you'd like to get a five minute overview of the book in Karen's words, I'd encourage you to explore my interview with Karen at 5minutespisuccess dot com.
In closing, I'd like to thank Karen for writing such a great book and for leading us in how to create OUTSTANDING organizations!
From the foundations of building an organization upon sound practices like developing an end-to-end culture of continuous improvement, ensuring everyone is empowered as a problem solver, to helping push through when things get tough. Karen has us focus on four key chaos killers; driving for a level of clarity needed to be successful at a process/task, increasing focus by avoiding the multi-tasking myth, developing higher levels of discipline by finishing things 100% to completion for greater learnings, and lastly valuing the at deeper level the contributions of others thoughts and experiences thereby encouraging higher engagement.
Like many improvement methods, Karen's ideas transcend the business world and actually has me thinking about how I can work with my kids to further develop how they approach problems. The additional things I really appreciated about this book was her approach of standing on the shoulder of the greats by offering very practical suggestions for using or rethinking what has already been done. This isn't a new system or Lean bolt on but suggestions on how everyone can be a part of creating value for the customers and companies.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in continuous improvement, from janitor to exec., from novice to expert, from industrial engineer to mom.
Top reviews from other countries
This book is an easy read as it is well written and flows nicely through the subject matter. This is a book that you will just not read once and then leave it on the shelf, this is a book that will be your constant companion that you will keep refering to as you make personal and organisational improvements. I have recommended this book to senior managers within my own organisation and this is not something that i do lightly or often, which goes to show how i really rate this book.