Jul 10, 2012

4 Fundamentals of an "Outstanding Organization" – Entrepreneur Addiction #45

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“First, master the fundamentals” – Larry Bird

Larry Bird was the master of basketball fundamentals. Fundamentals made him an icon. Like basketball, focusing on the fundamentals of business enhance performance. So as a business owner, how do you build an outstanding organization? Let’s start with four simple fundamentals.

4 Fundamentals of an “Outstanding Organization”

During this week’s podcast, we had the privilege of speaking with Karen Martin, an outstanding organization guru and the author of the new book called “The Outstanding Organization.” 4 Fundamentals of an "Outstanding Organization" - Entrepreneur Addiction #45Karen has spent over 20 years teaching organizations how to be outstanding by building a foundation on 4 important principles.

1. Clarity

Karen said, “The lack of clarity adds millions of dollars of unnecessary labor expense and slows progress at every level.” Take time to make it very clear. You can start with this simple activity. Go around and ask employees what your business does. Is everyone on the same page? If not, start there. Make sure everyone understands your company’s goals and how they play a part in achieving those goals.

2. Focus

I know, you have a lot on your plate and you have to get it all done yesterday. Karen talked about slowing down for a second. What are the top 2 or 3 three things you can do to move your business forward. It’s not doing everything. It is about doing the activities that have the most value first. Focus. Studies have shown that the most product people are those that prioritize and get the most important items done first. Many times people and organizations spend time on activities that don’t matter.

3. Discipline

Karen said, “You have to be disciplined in your approach.” Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” What are your top 3 business processes that make your business successful. I know, you have them in your head. Write them out. You can start with a simple piece of white paper. Make sure you have a clear and disciplined approach to these processes.

4. Employee Engagement

Karen said, “Most companies need to turn their focus from employee satisfaction to employee engagement.” We all want the most creativity, hard working, dedicated, and engaged employees. So how how do you do that? Give them ownership. Unleash their potential. let them help you solve your biggest problems. Everyone goes to work to succeed. Give them a clear goal, clear path, and get out of their way.

One final note from Karen, “CEOs, don’t  be wrapped in your office cocoon. Go to hang out where the work is done.”

There you have it. The four fundamentals on how to build an “Outstanding Organization” from one of the nation’s top business professionals.

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About the author

Burke Alder
Burke is passionate about strengthening America through small business and entrepreneurial growth. He has spent over 20 years in the pursuit of learning, developing, and executing principles and strategies that drive high-performance and explosive business growth. Burke writes about business financing, leadership, marketing, teamwork, and productivity. You can follow Burke on twitter here.


  1. These four fundamentals are so important just to live a good life, period, in all areas. I talk to people every day who don’t have a clue about these things, and resultantly are miserable failures in every area of their lives, mainly because they’re not being honest, or facing reality, not even about themselves to themselves. How can they then be honest or respect the reality of anything else?

    My best friend’s most constant activity is “kvetching,” or complaining about every little thing! I have sent her flowers, given her cash, everything I could think of to try to help her feel the importance she desires, but she’s happy for a moment, then commences complaining again almost immediately. She is almost completely impervious to logic and tells me that I’m the person who annoys her the most, not realizing that I’m also the person who supports and helps her the most!

    If more people would take your four fundamentals to heart, we’d have a much better country, and world! Thank you for so lucidly and briefly restating these facts of the fundamentals of success!

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