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Outstanding!: 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

John G. Miller


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Book Description

Jan. 12 2010
Unabridged CDs, 3 CDs, 4 hours

Read by the author

The bestselling author of QBQ! shows how anyone can use the unlimited potential of accountability to create an outstanding organization.




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Product Details

  • Audio CD: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio; Unabridged edition (Jan. 12 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143145614
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143145615
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 15 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,483,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

• CHAPTER ONE•

Be Fast

While ordering lunch at a fast-food place (on this particular day, it was a Wendy’s), I noticed a digital clock on the wall where they were handling drive- through customers. In big red numbers, it would start at zero, tick up in time by seconds, and then suddenly reset back to zero and start counting up again. I asked the woman taking my money what the clock was for, and she said, “That shows us how quickly we’re handling the customers outside.” Interesting, I thought. So I continued, “And what do you do with the information? Do you look at your average serve time daily?” And right then, her supervisor, listening to our conversation, jumped in enthusiastically and answered my question: “Oh, no, we check our score every three hours. We need to be fast, you know!” And I thought, Don’t we all.

How fast is your organization?

Outstanding organizations have a tremendous sense of urgency. People get things done—quickly. There is little waiting around for approval, there are few meetings, and even fewer “committee decisions.” They resist creating burdensome policies, and where policies do become roadblocks, managers carry a sharp pair of scissors, constantly clearing the way for their people by cutting the red tape.

An executive at H. B. Fuller, an esteemed organization founded in 1887 in St. Paul, Minnesota, once shared with me this colorful metaphor: “John, it’s a bad day for us when a snake slithers into the lobby and we all encircle the reptile to assess the situation, discuss where it came from, who let it in, and what species it is. It’s a good day when someone just grabs a shovel and cuts its head off.” Apologies to snake lovers—of which I’m one—but what he was saying is true. When the bullets are flying, don’t call a meeting. Don’t stand around and contemplate. Do something!

The fact is, some decisions simply do not need to be a big deal. If there’s a snake in the lobby, take care of it. If you’re looking for a vendor to help on a project, find some candidates, check them out, and pick one. Way too often the many hoops organizations make their people jump through, plus the number of people invited into the decision-making process, cause decisions that should realistically take a day or a week to drag on for months, sometimes years.

What ineffective organizations don’t understand is how much money is pouring out the back door due to these sorts of things. Not only does it cost the time and energy—and compensation—of everyone involved, but every minute spent on one thing is a minute not available to work on something else. I have honestly seen “buying committees” spend, say, $250,000 in collective salary cost to make a $50,000 decision. I bet you’ve seen this happen, too. It’s math that just doesn’t add up. One manager at a Fortune 500 firm shared candidly, “I do not work for an outstanding organization. We are a good organization with a good reputation, but decisions take too long. Our market moves at lightning speed, and it seems we’re always a step or two behind while some unknown, unnamed committee meets to plan their next meeting. We’ve lost multimillion-dollar contracts while waiting and waiting and waiting for decisions to be reached.”

To be fast does not mean we should be foolish and be in such a rush that we make mistakes. Taking the time to make good decisions is critical—but outstanding organizations make good decisions faster. And they do it by creating a culture that sends the message: Let’s get it done... yesterday!

In a way, we’re all like the staff at Wendy’s, with a clock on the wall, ticking away precious time. Let’s make the best use of every second.

Be fast

• CHAPTER TWO •

When I left the training firm I sold for after a decade of calling on senior managers, I really wanted to author a book titled The Arrogance of Management. But, alas, I didn’t think executives would buy it.

Ben Franklin said this about pride: “Even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I would probably be proud of my humility.” That tongue-in-cheek humor really states a truth: After making the big sale, delivering the project on time, launching a winning product, or landing a promotion, it can be seriously hard to show humility. Yet that’s what we find in outstanding organizations.

Sheryll, a project coordinator in information services with a major healthcare organization, told me, “Our CIO sent an amazing message to all the employees in our department. It makes me want to give him a big hug! But since it’s probably not appropriate to do that, I am just going to stop by his office to thank him for being a marvelous role model, and let him know how much I appreciate his accountable actions!”

She went on to tell me about an incident that seemed minor initially, but snowballed into a problem for this executive. To save money, he had decided to change cake vendors. Yes, you read that right: cake. His technology team has a long-standing and highly valued “Cake Day” tradition in which they recognize service anniversaries, birthdays, and other such milestones by getting cake for everyone to share, and the CIO had made the decision to switch to a cheaper cake supplier. Naturally, these celebrations are important to the hundreds of people in the department, but the CIO didn’t understand how important they were—and that’s fair. Often in life one person doesn’t know what something means to another. However, on top of making the change to a possibly less tasty product, his email to everyone announcing the switch also facetiously described the change as a “drastic cost-cutting measure.” Though there was absolutely no bad intent on his part, the proverbial molehill grew into the mountain, and in came feedback indicating that he now had a minicrisis on his hands.

So he handled it with grace and aplomb, taking a rare action by those “at the top”: He apologized. In a broadcast email, he wrote contritely that he shouldn’t have made light of this change and that he owed them a sincere apology. He accepted responsibility for the mess and even claimed poor judgment. He went on to confess that he doesn’t always choose the right words, but assured everyone that his colleagues mean the world to him and are his highest priority.

Rarely have I come across such a powerful example of being humble. I believe that humility is the cornerstone of leadership. Others do, too. Russ Gasdia, vice president of sales and marketing for Purdue Pharma, sums it up well. When asked to list three characteristics of an “effective leader,” he said, “Humility, humility, and humility. They know they make mistakes, accept feedback from others in order to learn, admit they don’t always know what’s right, and recognize it’s not ‘all about them.’ When they succeed, they are humble. When they fail, they are humble. And lastly, they never think they are more important than the customer!”

Humility is a key trait of outstanding organizations— and of individuals. Humility helps people be more likable and approachable, work better with others, and give better service to customers. It enables departments and teams to collaborate with other departments and teams. Perhaps most important, it allows people to communicate more freely, creating a culture of authenticity and accountability that every outstanding organization requires. Beyond all this, it might even win us a hug or two—and maybe there’s nothing wrong with that!

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  48 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fundamental Principles of Excellence July 31 2010
By Mark Jones Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I don't go to work to be part of a losing team, to make policies and procedures that confound progress and productivity. I don't want to sit around and watch our country get deeper in debt, yoked to the burdens of irresponsible lawmakers.

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? 47 concepts you can implement today...that take a lifetime to master--ideas to help you accept responsibility for and achieve an exceptional organizational culture.

When? It doesn't matter where you are in your journey of leadership or what level your at in the company org chart--don't wait until you are in a position of leadership. Read it now--you can finish in one weekend.

Where can you get it? Amazon is cheapest: Outstanding! 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional (affiliate link). But it is available at any bookstore or the author's website [...]. John is very friendly and real, and he even answered my email within minutes. You can follow him on twitter @qbqguy or facebook/theqbq.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING! Aug. 15 2010
By Monty Rainey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
John Miller's book, OUTSTANDING!: 47 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR ORGANIZATION EXCEPTIONAL, is, well, ... OUTSTANDING! The author of QBQ and Flipping the Switch, may have written his best book ever. Quite often authors put out a book that is little more than a regurgitation of their earlier books. Not so, here.

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. I'm giving this one my highest recommendation. As always, Miller writes clearly with direct points and succinct summaries. QBQ set a pretty high bar for Miller, but he may have succeeded in surpassing that bar with Outstanding!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly "Outstanding" Jan. 19 2010
By Matthew Morine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
John Miller is an accomplished author and consultant in the business world. His previous book "QBQ" was an exceptional work on identifying empowerment thinking. He continues the linage of thought provoking and insightful works in this text. The book identifies the 47 ways to make an organization better. This book is packed with helpful information. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on the ever increasing literature in the business culture, one can buy this book for the best of the latest ideas. The book also highlights some of the latest and trendy "foolish" ideas that would never work. The author shows these ideas to be lacking. Instead of having to read all of the material out there searching for the best practices, the author has done this for you. This book will provide a framework for any church, club, or business. There is not a single wasted page. For a journey in the best ideas for an organization, pick up this title.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My newest Favorite Book...possibly better even than QBQ! July 31 2014
By Cheryl Lynn Todd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Reading "Outstanding!" is a wonderful journey of encouragement for any person wanting to be personally outstanding, and those who are working toward leading an outstanding team of people...not only is it possible to be outstanding, but if you struggle in these areas you will know you are not alone! Simple yet deep wisdom lies in the pages of this book. Written in bite-sized segments, the quick short stories are easily relate-able. Some of the chapters I enjoyed most were: Never Forget Who Pays The Bills (for us, that is our customers!), Let Every Player Count (the eyes are not more valuable than the feet), Speak Well: Make The Right Impression (people will always remember how you made them feel), Fire Customers! If Necessary (guard your energies and your resources wisely), Be Coachable (no one knows everything there is to know about everything, and often the best ideas come out of the mouth of babes, team members, outsiders, and novices). Would I recommend this book? YES! Read it...read it TODAY!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Want to improve at your job? This book is a MUST READ ! March 22 2014
By Paula Hill-Mcintosh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book arrived in excellent condition and its an easy 1 page or even 1 paragraph that you remember.
Its detailed outline for every aspect of your job and what one might contribute is written in a way that you don't forget ! I would recommend the book to managers right down to the work floor whether it be in sales or office

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