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Outstanding!: 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional Hardcover – January 7, 2010
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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.
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!
In Outstanding! 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: In Outstanding! 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
About the Author
John G. Miller is the founder of QBQ, Inc., an organizational development company dedicated to making personal accountability a core value for organizations and individuals. QBQ, Inc. has worked with hundreds of Fortune 500 and other companies and governmental and non-government organizations internationally. Miller, who appears frequently on national television and radio, is the author of the bestselling QBQ! The Question Behind the Question and Flipping the Switch: Five Keys to Success at Work and in Life. He lives in Denver.
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I read Outstanding with one goal: to strengthen and build every team I'm a part of. This book delivers in a big way and has saved me countless missteps, though not completely eliminated them. I always look to those ahead of me in business and seek to learn from their expertise. John is such a guy and the stories he tells in this book kept me engaged and made the lessons more real.
I wish I had time to dive into each of these ideas, but I will discuss a select few, in no particular order...
Be Fast- It is the first chapter in the book and it's one that is very easy to work through within an organization. Look at what you do and where you can coach to shave hours, minutes, or seconds. The faster you are at each thing within an organization the happier the customers will be and they are a pretty important part within an organization.
See Everyone as a Customer- The book talks about 360 degree customer service. You have customers that directly give you money in exchange for a service or product (these are external customers) and you also have customers that are working for you within the organization (internal customers). A customer is really anyone that has an expectation of you. If you internal customers as being just as important as external then everything runs much smoother. So be considerate and help your contractors, suppliers, office staff, etc. and you'll see tremendous results.
Hire Character- If you are focused on anything within an organization while you do your hiring it should be character. Imagine you have two college graduates- one spends her time volunteering at the hospital 3 nights a week and manages to get pretty good grades and the other is a straight A student. Choose the one that exhibits the character. That will be the person that takes ownership over their position, comes in early, stays late, and thinks of ways to improve on days off. An organization filled with individuals with character is an outstanding organization.
Never Forget Who Pays the Bills- It's all about the customer. I'm sure everyone has experienced those days when they see an employee that acts like you're more of an inconvenience than the person that pays their paychecks. I like to go into organizations that have employees that smile at me, have genuine concern for how my day is, and would bend over backwards to make my day even better.
Coach, Moment to Moment- As a manager, it is your duty to coach your team. And more than that, the coaching should be constant. Never let your teams become stagnant or "good enough." Everyone can do better and hone the skills they have. If that statement wasn't true NFL players would just play games and not spend so much time practicing. Be the coach for your team and help them reach goals, and when they reach that goal help them reach the next one.
Train- This is the most valuable expense a company can assume. Training individuals to be effective is the only way to make your organization effective. Too many organizations send their new employees into the gauntlet with nothing more than a handbook and a slap on the back. Moment to moment coaching is more important in the beginning stages of someone's employment than any other time in someone's career. Be there for them and teach them.
Encourage Each Other- It is very valuable for individuals within an organization to be there for each other. It is wonderful to hear a "you can do it" from a colleague. It plays into the morale within an organization and morale directly leads to effectiveness. Help your organization encourage each other by setting the standard. If you encourage someone, they are more likely to encourage someone else.
There are so many great ideas in this book. If you are a manager within an organization I highly recommend this book. I think of it a lot like a workbook. I will keep it with me from here on out and I will consult it weekly as a tool. John G. Miller is a great author. I reviewed QBQ! a little while back and this book is just as good. I know a lot of you are big fans of Dave Ramsey, well, Ramsey is a big fan of Miller and QBQ! is required learning within his organization. So maybe that will give you a little motivation to pick up this book too. If you have any questions on the book don't hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to help anyone that wants it.
Choosing to be Outstanding can lead to incredible things. I recommend this book for anyone who leads or manages any organization. Conventional wisdom gets turned upside down. Simply Outstanding.