Karen Martin is helping companies design and build better, more efficient operations by pinpointing why performance improvement programs usually fail.  Chaos, the sneaky but powerful force that frustrates customers, keeps business leaders awake at  night, and saps company morale.

In her new book: The Outstanding Organization:

Karen offers a toolbox for combating chaos by creating the organizational conditions that will allow a company’s improvement efforts to return greater gains.

Karen’s system focuses on for key behaviors Clarity, Focus, Discipline, and Engagement.

Show notes:

Four causes of chaos

  • Lack of Clarity
  • Lack of Focus
  • Lack of Discipline
  • Lack of Engagement

CLARITY Words Matter,

  • Truth, telling/seeking
  • Nice, is not always honest
  • Fuzzy Words: I think, Maybe, I’ve heard They….
  • Culture Indicators and Key Words

CLARITY: Key Performance Metrics

  • Percent Complete and Accurate: (%C&A)
  • Process Time: (PT)
  • Lead Time: (LT)
  • Achieving clarity visual management – go and see


  • The hidden cost of being unfocused
  • The beauty of “Not Doing”
  • Building Consensus with Catchball
  • Focused Meetings: No calls, texts, IM’s emails etc.


  • Predictable performance
  • You’re already working hard
  • PDSA – Everywhere
  • “Community of Scientists”
  • Standardization


  • Organizational climate and systems
  • Three C’s
    • Connection, Control, Creativity
  • Your hired – the on boarding process
  • Process Pairing
  • Blue Angels – Pensacola Florida – example of an Outstanding Organization
    • Never canceled do to maintenance issues