What Is Excellence?
Over the centuries, great thinkers have attempted describe just what Excellence is. Excellence is not perfectionism. Rather, Excellence is a journey through an ever changing landscape of new possibilities and methods. It is the best result that can be produced at a particular moment in time.
Therefore, Excellence is something that can be achieved. But it can also be quickly lost as well. In a nutshell, “Today’s Excellence is Tomorrow’s Mediocrity.”
According to Aristotle, “Excellence is not an act, but a habit.” More recently, John Gardner observed that “Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” While Thomas Peters really nailed it when he observed that “Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence – only in constant improvement and constant change.”
Excellence in Business requires constant improvement to current processes, systems and goals. Any business which is not striving to be more excellent will soon find itself obsolete or out manuevered by its competition. For example, Kodak was at one time the premier photographic enterprise. The word Kodak was synonymous with film, cameras and picture taking.
Excellence In Business means constantly monitoring what is new in the marketplace of ideas. It means being open to putting those new ideas to work with your existing products and services. It means encouraging associates to come up with new ideas or suggestions for making products more relevant and efficient. For some companies, setting up a “skunk works” environment has been a key factor in helping them to maintain market leadership.
The worst thing any business can do is become defensive and protective of the products and processes that are currently creating their income. To continue to survive, an excellent business must become its own competitor at some level within itself. It must encourage the development of products and services that a first glance seem to be against its best interests.
Customers are drawn to Excellence. Customers want to experience Excellence and when they do they will tell their friends all about it. Word of mouth is the most targeted and effective form of advertising there is. You can’t buy it, it is a free gift from your satisfied customers.
So, continue pursuing Excellence and Success will follow.