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There Are Competing Priorities in Every Business.

A clear, simple strategy helps ensure that the best choices are made.

  1. Called Out
    Why do we call it customer service? If a company rewards its reps for getting callers off the phone fast, the likely result is frustration at both ends of the line.

  2. Take It Back
    Mattel prides itself on the quality of its products, but the massive recalls of Chinese-made toys illustrate the risks faced by companies caught between maintaining safety and cutting costs.

  3. Not Snowbound
    FedEx has a Purple Promise award for employees who keep its promise that packages will "absolutely, positively" arrive overnight, no matter the weather.

  4. Stats vs. Abs
    Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane guides his scouts' decisions by stressing stats over physique. It's the Moneyball way. One example: the beefy but effective Joe Blanton.

A version of this article appeared in the November 2007 issue of Fast Company magazine.