Leading Toward Excellence

By November 4, 2014 Leadership No Comments

Excellence does not happen by accident. It’s hard to attain but easy to notice. We see it in everyday businesses when the barista at Starbucks serves us a great cup of coffee with a smile not just today but every time we visit the location or our favorite local restaurant consistently provides an excellent meal combined with good service and a warm, friendly atmosphere.

Excellent businesses are created by managing the customer experience, applying financial discipline to all parts of our business, and leading our staff toward a simple and profound vision. There is no magic pill or easy road to excellence – instead we create excellence through everyday actions and habits. Leaders bring excellence into organizations and make it part of the thread woven into their companies. They insist on excellence each and every day.

In an interview a few years ago Shaquille O’Neal said “Excellence is not a singular act, but a habit. You are what you repeatedly do.” This is not an entirely new thought. The last line of his quote actually came from Aristotle who said it more than 2,300 years ago. The most important thing a leader can do is to bring in and insist on excellence in the actions of their team. They do that by following the steps below.

Lead from the front. Effective leaders put themselves where they can have the greatest influence on what is most important. A general who leads from the headquarters will not inspire. From where do you lead?

Enthusiasm begins with you. It is a force multiplier.

All customer experiences matter – each and every time. This past week, how many customer experiences did you impact? Are you doing everything you can in your role within your organization?

Determine your vision and strategy. A few years ago I was introduced to a great vision that Jamie Smith, a Mr. Rooter franchisee in Baltimore, Md., is bringing to his team. His very clear vision that he readily shares is “Making customers happy they called us!”

Each objective requires organized action. This will keep you moving toward your goals and give clear steps for your team to follow.

Remember to look for efficiencies in your business. Having someone on your payroll who does not bring profit to the business wastes precious resources you need to grow the business. What is that costing you? Where does your business spend resources that will move your sales and profits higher? You must know what is driving your business.

Your time is best spent leading your businesses toward excellence. It begins by asking more of ourselves than others do. Start today.

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