Outstanding! | John G. Miller

Summary of: Outstanding!: 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional
By: John G. Miller


Embark on a journey to transform your organization into an exceptional one with John G. Miller’s book ‘Outstanding!: 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional’. This summary provides insights into the characteristics and practices that set outstanding organizations apart from their competitors. Key themes include personal accountability, a sense of urgency, humility, effective communication, and a willingness to take risks. By applying these principles, you can not only create a thriving organization but also leave a lasting positive impact on customers and employees alike. Get ready to learn, apply and watch your organization soar to new heights.

Outstanding Organizations Have Personal Responsibility

Outstanding organizations value personal responsibility and go above and beyond for their customers. Companies like Ashley Regional Medical Center, All American Quick Lube, and Hilton have employees who personify these qualities. They stress personal responsibility and earn their customers’ high regard. On the other hand, some companies never go out of their way for their customers, leading to a loss of business. To emulate the best practices of these superior organizations, businesses should ask themselves three important questions: “What specific action will I take to apply this idea?”, “When will I do it?”, and “Who will I ask to follow up with me to ensure I have done it?”. By applying these questions, firms can ensure that they embody the qualities of an outstanding organization.

Need for Speed

Wendy’s restaurant utilizes a digital clock to track speed in customer service. This principle applies to all organizations; speed is crucial to being outstanding. Top organizations minimize delays, avoid excessive meetings and bureaucracy, and respond immediately to market changes. A customer’s delight is a result of excellent service, and quick decision-making is essential in today’s fast business world. Some companies take too long to make decisions, hindered by committees, which often results in lost opportunities. Organizations must learn to expedite good decision-making processes to succeed.

Personal Accountability

The road to success is paved with good intentions followed by prompt action. This book highlights that from bosses to employees, everyone is accountable for their deeds and the impact it has on their reputation. To build credibility, one must deliver what they promise without exception. Collaboration within teams is impossible unless the members have established personal accountability. This book emphasizes the need for organizations to function based on individual accountability and for employees to assume responsibility for their actions and promises.

The Importance of Humility in Leadership

A major health care organization’s CIO changed the vendor for employee birthday cakes and sarcastically called it a “drastic cost-cutting measure.” The staff, instead of finding it funny, got irritated. When the CIO learned of the furor, he apologized to his tech team and displayed remarkable humility. Humility is an essential trait for executives, according to Russ Gardia, VP of sales and marketing at Purdue Pharma, who considers “humility, humility, and humility” as three critical characteristics of an effective leader.

Communicating Purpose to Employees

Organizations should communicate their primary purpose to employees to inspire passion and enthusiasm. When employees understand the mission and pivotal goals, they become more engaged and motivated to contribute. Executives and workers should frequently discuss the organization’s mission to facilitate top performance. It’s crucial for employees to be able to quickly answer the question, “Why do we exist?”

Ditching Inelegant Jargon

Conversations free of imprecise, stilted jargon are essential in genuine communication, according to the book. Examples of this type of vocabulary in the business world include “separating” someone from the company instead of firing them. Similarly, “right-sizing” and “downsizing” are preferred euphemisms for getting rid of employees in large numbers. Authenticity in speech is damaged by such jargon, making individuals cynical. It’s time to let go of it.

Exceptional customer service matters

Author John G. Miller shares a personal experience of buying and assembling a table that had a wrong leg. The store’s policy required the customers to return the entire table instead of just replacing the missing part. He contrasts this with a positive customer service experience of Jason Ragan, who received a new watch from Timex free of charge, even though it was out of warranty and he had no proof of purchase. The lesson is that outstanding companies prioritize their customers and make them feel valued.

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