If not Excellence, What?
If not Excellence Now, When?”
Tom Peters, The Little Big Things
Every presentation I give starts with this quote.
For me, Excellence should inculcate its way into the DNA of every organisation of whatever hue – Professional Service Firm (PSF) or otherwise. Absent Excellence, no amount of spin, marketing hype or management will lead you to the promised land of success.
Of course, Tom Peters doesn’t own the business idea – although he has made a damn good fist at owning the word – but you have to ask:
“What else is there?”
Excellence is something that trips off many a tongue (as if it’s likely to be found lurking in every nook and every cranny …!) but, from my vantage point, Excellence is in short supply.
Some people think (mistakenly) that they can lob a few slogans at the problem and make a bigger noise, but you don’t turn ‘Ho Hum’ into good, let alone Excellent, with a light touch wash and brush up, nor a few sticking plasters.
Too many people think that Excellence, if talked up enough, will plug the holes in the business. Others think they can move the deck chairs around, and hope that a new Excellent order will emerge. And still others think that by barracking everyone into submission, they will live in fear sufficient not to move outside of a narrow compass that meets your model of Excellence.
As a business discipline Excellence is perhaps too nebulous, and there will be many who will argue the semantics. For me, it is very simple:
Excellence comes down to how much you care.
The fact of the matter is that no business has achieved a scintilla of success unless someone along the chain of command was prepared to do more than that articulated in the job description and produce a WOW, memorable, emotionally charged, and, dare I say, beautiful experience.
Too many businesses pay lip service to the notion that the customer comes first. Do they not realise how ridiculous that sounds, particularly when, at the same time, the rewards of running the business seem out of kilter with the value provided? This is not to say that you should be in business to break even, but if the customer truly came first, then nothing, and I mean nothing, would be too much trouble. In reality, businesses get used to delivering at the margins and hold back in the event that they provide the customer with an unrealistic expectation of what they should expect.
My Excellence schtick is focused on the people thing. I have this bee in my bonnet about the wasted talent that lies dormant in every business. Excellence finds its home in challenging every leader, manager and HR specialist to scrutinise their failure to realise the potential of every person in their midst. In truth, we haven’t really moved much from the Blue Collar days of the factory where people were paid as little as possible and expected to work tirelessly without demur.
Whether you accept the premise of my raison detre, it is incumbent upon you not to squander your talent. Even allowing for the sorry state of the market, if you ignore the problem for too long, then you are merely storing up a plethora of problems that will come back to haunt you in the years to come.
My challenge: put Excellence at the top of every agenda and ask yourself:
“Are we helping our staff reach their full potential? If not, why not?”
I am certain that even allowing for the usual gloom-sprayers, if you ask that question you will get 101 responses where you know you have to get better. This is not about seizing the moral high ground but taping into the pool of talent that really can make a difference with your business offering.
PS. Here is a video from the Little Big Things YouTube channel which you may find of interest (you don’t have to like basements!).
Working with me:
I am available for speaking, consulting and one on one coaching. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me on 075888 15384.