Sunday, December 30, 2012

2013 - Let's be outstanding


Alhamdulillah, I found this awesome gift in my postbox today (Wednesday/Boxing Day) - a gift from a generous soul in America - Becky of 'Weaving Influence'.

I thought, initially, to wait until I have finished reading it and compose a proper review of it, before mentioning it here. But then I thought I'd better suggest to people to get it and read it so we could start the new year with a better frame of mind as to what an outstanding organization is. No, we don't need to be one of the Chiefs (the C-levels) or anywhere near it, to be concerned about outstanding organizations.

As an individual, we, whether we want to admit it or not, we are concerned about our performance - at work, at home or even at play [Ahah!]. As a Muslim individual we are taught to be concerned about our performance as a believer - if we are better today than we were yesterday, if we are doing more in all two aspects of our relationships: with our Creator and with His creations i.e. people - Hablum minallah hablum minannas.

I have only read the first chapter (as of now) which the author, Karen Martin calls 'Cracks in the Foundation'. In the opening chapter, she talks about chaos (defined as random unpredictable variation) which is often self-inflicted and could destroy excellence. That we need four basic foundations i.e. clarity, focus, discipline and engagement. Together they would function as a good platform for three key behaviors which are needed to create an outstanding organization, namely problem solving, continuous improvement and resilience.

Well, those terms/concepts are nothing sophisticated, you might think. But management theories need not be sophisticated all the time. It should be practical and workable. And obviously a book should not be judged by its first chapter alone. The first chapter is just a teaser. Having said that, I will say that I was trained at uni [where I studied Publishing] to judge a book by its cover/outer appearance, first, even before we go to the first chapter.
I thought the cover jacket was inviting. The word 'outstanding' appears to be shouting at you and its message is appealing, it's like saying "hey, you think you know what outstanding is, think again, read this book." So in that sense the book is successful in enticing potential buyers/readers.

And then I flipped the book to feel its weight and sniffed it. [Yes we were taught to sniff books!] Just smell and acknowledge it, that's all. Not that a bestseller has a particular winning smell. The book smelled like milky-vanilla to me. OK fine, whatever as long as it smells good. You will not appreciate this sniff test until you find one which is foul-smelling. Then you would want to check in which country the book is printed etc. 

I also liked the color the book designer had chosen for the hard-cover - pastel baby blue - something different and unexpected. It evokes a sense of innocence like baby-ish which is significant because problems could be solved more easily if we have an innocent and curious attitude like a child. 

Now, let me sign off and continue reading the book. The new year is just around the corner. Let's make an intention to make efforts to be an outstanding person. Remember the call to prayer (azan) hayya 'alal falah meaning 'rush to success'. To be outstanding is to be successful, or the other way round. It works both ways, methinks.

Lastly, I'd like to remind myself that as a Muslim, anything we do (e.g. to be outstanding) we do it to win His redha so that Allah would be pleased with us - Ilahi anta maqsudi wa redhaka matlubi.

Yours faithfully,
[Exa - Miss Quintillion - 10 to the power of 18 : )]

The next time you go to a bookstore, pick up a book, hold it, flip it and sniff. Don't be shy...heh heh

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