Archive for January, 2015

Excellence – an ASSET

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Excellence is the ultimate standard that is essential to and found in all great achievements.

“We don’t get a chance to do many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life.” – Steve Jobs

“The secret of joy in work is contained in one word – excellence. To know how to do something really well is to enjoy it.” – Pearl Buck

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” – Vince Lombardi

Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.” – Pat Riley

“I often say ‘pursue excellence, ignore success. Success is a by-product of excellence.” – Deepak Chopra

” ‘In Search of Excellence‘ – even the title – is a reminder that business isn’t dry, dreary, boring or by the numbers. Life at work can be cool – and work that’s cool isn’t confined to Tiger Woods, Yo-Yo Ma, or Tom Hanks. It’s available to all of us.” – Tom Peters

Have you ever thought of excellence as a helpful asset? When implemented and fully embraced by an organization amazing benefits appear everywhere. Here are a few:

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***Excellence inspires.  ***Excellence attracts the best talent and filters out the losers.   ***Excellence eliminates competition.   ***Excellence generates energy and eliminates fatigue.   ***Excellence builds morale.   ***Excellence equals pride.   ***Excellence is an ideal goal, it’s always up.   ***Excellence assures success.   ***Excellence is a perfect compass.   ***Excellence is Fun.   ***Excellence is the most profitable.   ***Excellence creates word of mouth.   ***Excellence trumps discounts.   ***Excellence beats coupons.   ***Excellence is more effective than advertising.   ***Excellence just feels good.   ***Excellents requires and generates constant improvement!!” “Excellence creates long term value.”

The list goes on and is virtually endless. Look carefully at the organizations and individuals commited to excellence and you will see these assets and many more. CAUTION!!  The #1 enemy to achieving and maintaining  excellence is compromise. It is insidious the way compromise creeps in, brings confusion and immediately eliminates excellence and it’s asset value. Once begun where does it stop? Look for compromise: “Does it really have to be that good?” “Let it go just this once!” “It is too complicated and we need to cut costs!” “This is much easier.” “Well, the boss did it.” “Look at how much we will save!””No one will notice, it’s not that big a deal!” and on and on. By it’s very nature excellence  cannot be compromised.

“Trying to compromise excellence is like trying to let a little bit of  air out of a balloon with a hat pin!”   –  D. R. Scoggin

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Compromise = BROKEN TRUST

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Well run organizations are built on a foundation of core values, standards and goals. This is principled management. Compromise of this foundation breaks trust and demoralizes the organization. Compromise occurs when the founding values are nothing more than a meaningless plaque on the wall or document in a drawer. Compromise also occurs when management violates and does not lead by established core values, standards and goals. Have you been  in an organization that publicly states one set of  lofty values but in reality practices a different set of values or none at all?

imageGreat leaders practice principled management and are role models of strength and integrity. They implement and ‘live and breath’ the organizations core values. This means ‘walking the walk’ even when the chips are down and the decisions are difficult. You can trust that a great leader will have your back and will not compromise core values. Great leaders do not fall prey to pressures, like the bottom line or stock price and make expedient decisons. Once any leader compromises principle, trust is broken and their leadership is compromised.

image     ” Compromise of principle, breaks trust and is a bottomless pit!”                          

                                                                                                                                                         – D. R. Scoggin    

                                                                                         

Beachball Theory

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Quality in every aspect of life relies on good decisions. Good decisions rely on good information. For information to qualify as ‘good’ it must be complete with information from as many sources as possible. To accomplish this one must seek all points of view, even those with which you may disagree. Here is a helpful metaphor, picture a multi-color beachball so big that people, equally placed around it, can only see one of the colors. Assume the quality of your decision relies on accurately knowing all of the colors of the beachball. To do this obviously you must get everyone’s color (point of view).

How many times have you had to memorize the color of the beachball the boss sees because that is the only color ( point of view) considered?   How many times have you seen facts ignored or not completely gathered because of someone’s preconceived opinion, feeling or belief?   The most frustrating misguided opinion is “well, that’s the way we have always done it!” end of discussion! It is all too common for leadership to start with a conclusion and only look for the facts that support that conclusion, basically saying “it’s my way or the highway” or “don’t confuse me with the facts”! Starting with the conclusion will never lead you to the “truth” and certainly not lead to the best decision.

“To make a ‘good’ decision gather all points of view including those with which you disagree.”     D. R. Scoggin

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‘Levitation’ – the phenomenon!

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‘Levitation’ is the magic carpet ride of business. The ‘Triangle Theory’ is the formula that teaches the importance of balancing the focus and benefits for all stake holders in an enterprise. When the bottom line is the primary focus, usually at the expense of the employee and customer, magic opportunities are missed.  It has been demonstrated that if you invest in your employees  and customers the bottom line will take care of itself. Picture customers so happy that they tell everyone, come in often, bring their friends and handsomely reward your employees. Picture employees so happy with the company and treatment by the customers they bring their ‘A’ game and more everyday. The company wins with all the free advertising, high employee morale and low turnover.  Magic happens when each side of the triangle is motivated to do more for the other and the equation feeds on itself. This is ‘Levitation ‘ and it’s Magic!

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Business Strategies

imageThere are many business strategies and by their focus I divide them into two broad catagories. The first and most common is the financially focused strategy. Usually employed with  buyouts or take overs by conglomerates or financial institutions, like venture capital firms. It can be very profitable. Assest are sold, costs are cut and the bottom line, on a time table, is king. The goal is a short term flip! The problem is usually nothing of long term value is built and the gains are at the expense of the employee and customer.

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I prefer ‘the other side‘ of business, management by principle. This strategy requires the establishment of core values, standards and goals. Through this foundtion you can build a commonly driven and empowered organization.  The standard for principled management is excellence.   Excellence brings morale, pride and performance. The formula for principle driven management is what I call the ‘Triangle Theory’. Balancing and maximizing the three sides, represented by the employee (priority one), the customer (the ultimate focus) and the company (the ultimate beneficiary) is the goal. Properly done this formula results in what I call ‘Levitation’. You have seen the result of levitation almost everytime you see an unusually successful endeavor!! It takes vision but this strategy will result in a bigger and longer lasting ‘financial’ result.

 

The financially focused strategy is business ‘checkers’ and the principle focused strategy is business ‘chess’.  –  D. R. Scoggin