Book Browse

The Outstanding Organization by Karen Martin

The Outstanding OrganizationThe Outstanding Organization by Karen Martin, the 2012 Shingo Research and Professional Publication Award winner, takes a fresh look at problems and problem solving. The problem Martin addresses is the reason improvement programs fail: Chaos. Chaos can be caused by:

  • Lack of clarity – No clear purpose, poor decision making, ambiguous roles and responsibilities, and a lack of communication 
  • Lack of focus – Constantly changing goals, distractions 
  • Lack of discipline - PDSA improvement cycle 
  • Lack of engagement – Employees not involved  

The key to removing chaos is to pursue clarity in internal communications, to focus on a few important projects, to be disciplined in improvement approaches and to engage employees in improvement activities. 

Martin provides practical tools for instilling clarity, focus, discipline and engagement into companies and follows up this advice with many examples from her consulting experience. Many of the tools Martin suggests are lean in nature, but she also references tools found in Six Sigma and Plan Do Check Act. Martin’s writing style is straight forward and to the point. A trait many busy managers will appreciate. It's a relatively short book, but packed with great advice.