Creating a Culture of Excellence
Achieving, and more importantly, sustaining results doesn’t come from the products and services a company offers. Products change and, in today’s global economy, they can be quickly duplicated and commoditized. Nor is success derived exclusively from certain employees, as people come and go everyday. Rather the key to long-term success and profitability in any field is establishing a culture of excellence.
Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. While many organizations standardize various elements of running their business from how their logo is displayed to how the phone must be answered, few have developed a consistent way to standardize leadership practices, leaving the most important discipline of any organization in critical condition.
In Results That Last: Hardwiring Behaviors That Will Take Your Company to the Top, Quint Studer, the founder of the Studer Group and a long-time hospital administrator, attempts to stop the leadership hemorrhaging with his insightful diagnosis of organizational culture. By aligning and standardizing a company’s goals, behaviors and processes, he illustrates leadership disciplines that can be easily replicated to create a culture of excellence now and into the future.
“What creates results that last, is leadership — leadership that’s consistently excellent from leader to leader, department to department, division to division,” he writes. “Standardize the right leadership practices and you will find that organizational performance improves across the board and stays improved.”
A Healthy Prognosis
Drawing from his extensive background in healthcare administration, Studer shares his evidence-based leadership philosophy used to attain and sustain successful outcomes. Evidence-based leadership is derived from evidence-based medicine — a philosophy based on using current best evidence to make decisions about the care of individual patients. In fact, his frequent medical references provide an illuminating and relevant perspective.
For example, one of the leadership elements he advocates is Rounding for Results, a discipline based on the practice doctors use in hospitals of “making rounds” to check on patients. The goal is not to engage in idle chit-chat but to keep a finger on the pulse of what’s going on and to proactively handle problems before they occur.
In a similar vein, he writes about the necessity of accurate and timely measurement. “With patients we know how critical it is to monitor their vitals,” he says. “Based on the vitals, we treat them. By monitoring the vital signs of the organization, we can align behavior to what the vital signs are telling us we need to do.”
By providing tangible leadership practices that cover all aspects of running a business —including standardizing the hiring process, feedback mechanisms, employee evaluations, performance goals and customer tactics, Studer focuses with surgical precision on the processes that reduce variance, that can be easily replicated and that ensure success based on best practices.
Results That Last reads not so much like a book but more like a compendium of leadership best practices and operational excellence. The leadership primer is packed with a virtual treasure trove of templates, forms and resources (many of which can be downloaded from Studer’s Web site) that provide the stepping stones to implement the best practices.
By implementing these resources, leaders can ensure a consistent experience for employees and customers, thereby mitigating confusion and increasing effectiveness. For example, Studer urges companies to link everything from staff meeting agendas and employee evaluations to the key dashboard metrics that drive organizational performance. In so doing, he ensures that his prescription is consistent, repeatable and results in better strategy, enhanced customer and employee relations and improved outcomes.
With the right practices in place, an organization’s success won’t depend on individuals. Instead excellence will be hardwired into the corporate culture providing a sustainable advantage over the competition.
“Not only will your customers have consistently excellent experiences with your company, your employees will as well. Happy, loyal customers and happy, loyal employees are two sides of the same coin — and that coin is the currency that buys you results that last.”