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Outstanding!: 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional Hardcover – January 7, 2010
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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
Top Customer Reviews
I am not striking out "on my own" to start a consulting firm that does not succeed. I don't lead my family, so we can be average, just get by, merely survive.
In each of these endeavors, I want to excel, to be outstanding, to win. What does it mean to "win"? I think a leader's vision is the answer to that question. Vision is what gives us hope each day, the motivation to work hard, because I have a mental image of the outcome, whether that is at the end of the day, week, year, or lifetime. But it's more than that, because if no one buys into the vision, than a leader has no followers, so "winning" is a team's shared outlook.
I've read John's other two books, QBQ and Flipping the Switch, and now this one. In all three, he writes with concise clarity. By that, I mean that he explains and illustrates each principal in just a few short pages.
This is the essence of Multiplying Leadership with atoms--small, fundamental principles that exist independently, building blocks. In this case, they are building blocks of organizational excellence. I didn't need to read the whole book to walk away with one actionable idea. In fact, I can absorb a whole chapter that stands alone, an introduction to an idea that has endless possibilities for application that I can easily imagine, in the time it takes to read four pages.
Who should read it? Anyone who feels they are accountable, in some degree, for the excellence of their organization or team or family or relationship.
What is it about?Read more ›
Each of Miller's 47 points are given a chapter. Each one is valuable in its' own way. In Chapter 3, I realized why some of my training initiatives fail. I don't always put purpose first. If people don't have a good understanding of why it is necessary for them to do things a certain way, they are much less likely to adopt it as their own. This one little piece of knowledge and understanding on my part will totally change how I develop and delivery new initiatives.
In Chapter 5, I learned the true definition of a customer. A customer is anyone who has a legitimate expectation of you. This opens up a whole new realm and an entirely new dynamic on how we view people. Customers are not just people who buy from us, they are our vendors, supervisors, family members, co-workers, etc. If we treat these relationships with the same respect and regard as we give our "paying customers", imagine the results we will see.
Chapter 44 is a refresher course in doing the little things that will make a difference for customers. These are just a few things you'll find here. There are tips of doing a better job of coaching, the importance of encouragement, even ways to hire better people.
As I read Chapter 12, aptly titled "Value Ideas Over Politics", I kept remembering Ronald Reagan when he said, "It's amazing what can be accomplished when we don't care who gets the credit."
This should become required reading for anyone at the corporate level.Read more ›
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.
Thank you for outlining in detail, and yet in a concise and entertaining (audio book) manner the principles in your book. I was pleasantly surprised to see I am doing so many things right as a leader however I am also not too egotistical to say that I will be getting started right away on many of these ideas. Chapter 2 Be Humble is a lifestyle choice I live by daily. Your ego nor your wallet can enter the room before you do, and it's nice to see I'm not the only one who feels that way. In Chapter 3 you bring up a great point that I often times overlook; Keep the Mission at the Top. Whenever I am confronted by a large decision or a marketing concept I need to remind myself if this is in line with the Mission.
In your chapter Fight the Fat, I found the concept: Sales cover Sins to be huge. If I am truly honest with my personal success as well as any company I have worked for or owned I will find that I should be more critical, and more focused on the details while times are good. Thanks for the reminder. Another reminder that I implemented this morning was to Make Meetings Meaningful. Often times as a relational person I tend to not keep focused at meetings by asking people personal questions and encouraging chit chat. Which in turn creates an atmosphere of unfocused side conversations that require to be reeled back in. The other concept of releasing those who are done from the meeting makes enormous sense. This says to that individual they are important and so is their time. Finally I would like to thank you for permission to Fire Customers as discussed in Chapter 33. As a people person I am constantly trying to live by the customer is always right. However sometimes people take advantage of companies and their time and resources.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
We are an off premise catering company that has been in existence for 104 years and are into the 4th generation. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
Almost every chapter starts you saying "everyone knows that", then leaves you thinking about why you don't do it then.Published 11 months ago by Eric W Svestka
I absolutely enjoy everything that is set on this. I've recommended numerous times and will continue to do so.Published 17 months ago by super_Dad
This is a great book and is a must read for any leader. There is now a shortage of highlighters in my area after reading this book. Read morePublished 18 months ago by COListings
Well, in my humble opinion (humble is the topic of chapter 2), Outstanding! 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional is, in fact, Outstanding! Read morePublished 21 months ago by Ann DelNegro
Another great book from John Miller - simple practical steps to achieving excellence in any organization. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Tom Elafros