The Standard of Excellence

Excellence is the goal of every organization. You will not find any company or agency that wants to do things just okay. Every organization seeks to be the best. If you have the best organization, it gives you the best opportunity to create the best products or services and garner the most customers. At their core, every methodology that aims to improve the organization is primarily trying to achieve excellence. Read below for ways to drive your organization to excellence.

Your people are not engaged; they don’t care about excellence. We have all worked with these kinds of individuals. They are there to do their job. They are not passionate about what they do and are merely trying to do enough to meet the standard. They are not bad people; they just need a leader that knows how to get them to engage and inspire in them a desire to help the organization achieve excellence. This is not easy to do, but if you have people that are not passionate about what they are doing, find out what they want to do and make every effort to connect their duties to their passion. If you can’t do that because they are completely different, reach out and find opportunities for them to connect with the passions in other ways. For example, if you have someone that wants to be a nurse, but is currently working in construction, create a position for a worksite first aid station and pay for them to get some formal training. If doing something like that doesn’t get them to be committed to your organization, I don’t know what will.

You expect everything to be excellent. To what standard they complete the work is your job to determine, as the manager or leader of the group. Tasks that directly support your core mission and vision need to be the focus and should be how you measure excellence in the organization. Other tasks that need to be done but do not directly contribute to the mission/vision should be done “good enough.”

You continue to lower the standard to ensure the organization is achieving excellence when it is not. The other day I dropped off some paperwork to our administration section. I have a firm thirty-day deadline. After this section does what it needs to do, they must send it to another section to further process the paperwork. The entire process generally takes a few weeks, but in this case, I was told both processes would be expedited to take about a week. One week later, I received an email asking for clarification of the paperwork. I was very unhappy that it still hadn’t made it through the first phase of the process, but the response I got was that they had extra people out and this is the best they could do. I asked if they felt they still met the standard of excellence and thief managers unanimously agreed they are still meeting the level of excellence. Because they had more people out than normal – they were on vacation; this is self-inflicted pain – they increased their allowed processing time and made it seem as if they were still meeting the high standard. Temporary changes do not warrant changes to the standard. The standard for excellence should be determined, then left alone. Altering the standard should occur very rarely.

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