The path to scalable excellence

Let’s assume, for a moment, that you managed to overcome the obstacle of defining what excellence is… How do you address the even bigger challenge of instilling it & spreading it throughout an organization?

Huggy Rao the Atholl McBean Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and Robert Sutton professor of management science and engineering at the Stanford School of Engineering and a professor of organizational behavior, by courtesy, at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business discuss this very subject in their new book Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More without Settling for Less (Crown Business, February 2014).

Robert Sutton walks us through the subject in the following interview:

pathtoexcellencevideoThey discuss the subject in more detail as part of their Bad to great The path to scaling up excellence summary. Among others they:

  • Define The problem as: Destructive behavior—selfishness, nastiness, fear, laziness, dishonesty—packs a far bigger wallop than constructive behavior. In particular, research has found that negative interactions with bosses and coworkers have five times more impact than positive ones.
  • Debate Why it matters:When bad behavior crowds out good, it results in confusion, destructive conflict, distrust, and dead ends thatcan undermine the scaling of excellence—one of the toughest challenges senior leaders face.
  • Propose What to do about it: To spread and sustain the good, you must first remove the bad. Seven proven methods can help leaders do so:
  1. nipping bad behavior fast

  2. putting mundane improvements before inspirational ones

  3. seeking adequacy before excellence

  4. using well-respected staff to squelch bad behavior

  5. killing the thrill destructive behavior generates

  6. time-shifting from current to future selves

  7. and focusing on the best times, the worst times, and the end

If you’re interested in the subject an expanded reading list on overall traits & characteristics of successful businesses i would suggest is the following:

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