Be Outstanding.

Ever been amazed by technology? Imagine these sentences in the context of your grandparent’s childhood:

“I just facetimed with my uncle in GA and wished him a Merry Christmas.”


“I like to play scrabble on my phone with a guy I’ve never met who lives in Seattle


“So last week I tweeted about how great the book QBQ is and the author wrote back and sent me a box full of free books.”

All three of those things happened to me, in the past few weeks. The last one was particularly impressive to me.

John Miller, author of QBQ!, Flipping The Switch, and his new book Outstanding! responded to a tweet of mine by going to my website, reading enough of it to know (at least) that my wife’s name is Jacq and is a Pampered Chef consultant, and found my email and shot me a message thanking me for the kind words about his book. I responded and after a neat conversation he asked for my shipping address and sent me 4 free copies of his latest book (I told him I hadn’t read it yet) along with 4 each of his other books, and other assorted goodies (notepads, pens, etc).

And while he didn’t ask for it, I wanted to give him a shout-out for being so generous. He truly practices what he preaches about personal responsibility.

If you’ve not read it, QBQ was required reading for any student who wanted to be involved in a one-on-one discipleship relationship with me. It’s short, to the point, and remarkable in it’s effectiveness. I’ve read it now at least 3 times, and can’t recommend it highly enough. I’ll be giving away those free copies that Mr Miller sent me (of it and the other books/goodies) in the next few weeks over at

Outstanding, his latest book, is geared toward organizations, and outlines in 47 brief chapters (the whole book clocks in at just 206 pages) the way to make any organization outstanding. Predictably, I enjoyed the book. (free ice cream tastes better) But this book is well worth the price tag, if you are in management of any type or involved in leading others.

Here’s why I think this book is so crucial, especially now. In Chapter 40, entitled “Seek no Culprits,” Mr Miller lines out a principle that, if really grasped by many in our culture, would literally change the world. As a culture we constantly look for someone to blame. From 911 to Katrina response to school shootings to oil spills, every time there is a crisis, there has to be a fall guy. What if instead of looking for a person to blame, we expended the same amount of energy making the situation better?

Our entire insurance industry is built on the hypothesis that we are going to financially blame somebody when something goes wrong. What if instead of blaming, we all just agreed to not seek culprits, to make sure that we make things right, and to accept blame personally for the results of our decisions? There’d be no need for malpractice insurance or personal injury lawyers.

If each of us, and the organizations of which we are a part, decided to not seek culprits, try and imagine the outcome! We’d all turn the channel when the talking heads on Fox News and CNN start trying to find a politician to blame for the unemployment numbers, because that’s seeking culprits, and we aren’t interested in that. We’d be too busy trying to fix unemployment numbers by giving people jobs cutting our grass or selling us coffee. We’d almost completely tune out politicians in general, because 75% of what they say is seeking culprits (like the guy who just left office or the lobbyists or the red tape or the lack of red tape… they spend a lot of time talking about the culprits).

Yeah, the idea of seeking no culprits catching on might be a really good thing. It makes for outstanding organizations.

You know which organization I think is Outstanding? John Miller’s. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to give away such great stuff. And for blowing me away with the power of technology.

2 Replies to “Be Outstanding.”

  1. Ben, what a wonderful – and humbling – message. Thanks so much! And love your treatment of Chapter 40 of the Outstanding! book. Superb application. Hello to Jaq and here’s wishing you all an outstanding 2011!

Comments are closed.