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The Outstanding Organization: Generate Business Results by Eliminating Chaos and Building the Foundation for Everyday Excellence

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  • Posted January 13, 2013

    Karen Martin┬┐s new book, The Outstanding Organization, gives us

    Karen Martin’s new book, The Outstanding Organization, gives us a practical, useable guide for how to transform our organization from mediocre (hopefully not poor!) to truly outstanding.  While we all know what she says is true and that we should do it, the way she puts it is powerful and needed.

    A few of my favorite sayings in the book are:

    • Problems are not “Opportunities” – Finally!!! Let’s just say it and stop being so politically correct!!! Karen makes a significant differentiation between the two, “A problem is a gap – something that stands in the way, between where you are and where you need to be.  An opportunity is a path that will move you from where you are to where you’d like to be.  A problem is an urgent matter; an opportunity is not.”
    • “Solutions” only exist in Mathematics – More needed blunt talk! Karen states that the word “solution” implies implementing something new and going on to the next thing.  This (mis)leads us to think we’re done which means we may not pay attention and maintain or improve the ‘fix.’    Perhaps we need countermeasures, as Karen suggests.  Yes!  For those of us that like using Balanced Scorecard™ as a tool, this rings so true. 

    Karen points out the very important, and all too often ignored, real costs of not focusing – another detriment to outstanding performers.   The psychological costs are very real, yet sometimes so subtle and slow to be recognized that they become insidiously terminal.  Tied to this is the cost of incredibly amounts of lost time – time to re-educating on the ‘new’ direction, to shifting gears, to moving up (and down) learning curves, etc.   She also points out the importance of prioritizing.  As my clients know, this is a huge priority for me!  If you don’t prioritize, someone will for you – and usually that’s not the best.  It’s related to the phrase by not saying no, you’re saying no.  Be proactive – make your choices before someone makes them for you.  

    Lastly, business people and parents need Karen’s discussion on discipline!  There is the concept of discipline in terms of practicing a habit or process – from which we get the word disciple.  This has to do with responsibility, habit, and practice.  Most people aren’t comfortable with discipline – they view it as restricting their freedom when in reality, it frees us up to explore new areas.  There is no such thing as boundless freedom – nor should there be.  We are an interdependent society and must live within some constraints – and that’s where innovation has the strongest play.

    So, read Karen’s book, learn and apply it to your organization, no matter how big or how small, how old or how young.  You can become outstanding as well.

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