Would you like to have an excellent company? What we want
and what we have are often not one in the same, because
maybe we’re not sure of what it takes to achieve and maintain
excellence. The first thing is to understand what "excellence”
means. Excellence is:
- Striving for perfection: You’re always trying to improve and
never really "there.” You’re always looking for better ways to
- Commitment to be the best: You compete with yourself,
not other people. Set goals and strive to achieve those goals.
- Painstaking attention to detail: To strive for quality and do
it right the first time. Make sure you’re delivering the best possible
results within the allotted time available to you.
- Endless work: Yesterday is history. Take positive action every
day and do whatever it takes to impress your clients.
- Positive attitude: Focus on delivering the best possible results.
Be innovative, open-minded and encourage new ideas.
- Embrace change: Anyone in a management or supervisory
position must not only embrace change but also find a way to
make it work for them. "If it ain’t broke, break it!”
The next step is to develop a strategy for achieving excellence.
That strategy will involve implementing the following eight attributes
of an excellent, innovative organization.
Establish an action orientation. Make sure your people have
all the information they need to get the job done efficiently.
Listen to them and give them the authority and autonomy to
take action without a lot of interference. Experiment with new
ideas, and let people learn from their mistakes.
Impress customers. This involves listening to your customers,
anticipating their wants and needs and giving them more
than they expect. It also involves treating your people right,
since customer relations simply mirrors employee relations.
Encourage an entrepreneurial spirit. This involves getting
employees to say, "This is my company.” If they are given responsibility
and the authority to do their job, they will achieve
Productivity through people. Show that you believe this by
doing the following: train your people; set clear and reasonable
expectations; set achievable standards with your people;
make people feel like winners; provide intense top management
involvement; tell the truth; and share information and
Create exciting environments. This happens when you give
people personal attention and positive direction. Listen and
act on their input if it will improve productivity on the job site.
Solve problems and remove barriers without delay so people
can get on with achieving the results expected.
Build on your strengths. Remember what got you to this
point. Don’t abandon your roots. Pay explicit attention to your
people, quality and getting things done on time or ahead of
schedule. Let your people do what they’re good at doing.
Support field activities. It’s the people in the field who ultimately are responsible for delivering optimum productivity.
Encourage your support staff to listen to people in the field;
share information; experiment with new ideas; spend some
time in the field working with field supervisors; and conduct
pre- and post-job interviews.
Establish accountability. This includes setting and communicating
your standards; letting people know where they stand;
rewarding top performers; coaching and/or disciplining employees
to improve performance when they fall off the track;
and terminating employees who fail to get back on track.
Achieving and maintaining excellence takes a lot of hard
work, commitment and willingness to keep growing so you
can build an image of credibility and quality in the marketplace.
When people use the word "excellence,” your company
will be synonymous.
About the Author
Norb Slowikowski is president of Slowikowski & Associates,
Inc., Darien, Ill.