Archive for category Theories from the book.

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:


***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


Compromise = BROKEN TRUST


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    


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.


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



“Effort without RESULTS is meaningless”


Some are good at explaining WHY they didn’t get the result, others are good at COMPROMISING the standard to get the result. Both usually spend a lot of time proclaiming how hard they work and how much EFFORT they have expended but avoid any real measure of the result. This however does not work where the result is critical and is the focus….astronauts, professional athletes, airline pilots, brain surgeons and…. well, you get the idea! For success in any endeavor results are the only measure that counts. You cannot bank or eat effort!

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Growth W/O Compromise



The first big hurdle when growing a company or advancing as a manager is executing the increased span of control without compromising the result. As a manager or as a company, a critical step is made when going from single unit to multi-unit operations. Mangers who were great when running a single unit often fail when given multi-unit responsibility. Entrepreneurs with a great and highly successful concept often cannot expand and keep their “magic”. It is also common to see  successful multi-unit operations purchased only to begin to decline. Compromise is most often the culprit. When faced with an increased degree of difficulty the easy answer is to reduce the degree of difficulty by lowering the standard. Great efforts in business and sports, however, are hallmarked by ever increasing standards.

The answer is NEVER compromise your standards. NEVER compromise the result. Great management and  great coaches relentlessly pursue  systems and training until the result is achieved but NEVER resort to compromise!

Compromise is a bottomless pit.” ~ Daniel R. Scoggin

” When EXCELLENCE becomes difficult, which it alway is, there are those that take an easier route, it’s called MEDIOCRITY.” ~ Daniel R. Scoggin

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Great companies are founded on principles, standards and goals; empowering the organization to act with common purpose.”  Daniel R. Scoggin

Dynamic companies are faced with constant change as they grow and their markets develop. This can cause confusion in an organization because the rules and systems must change to keep pace. A well managed company has core values and principles that do not change, providing the stability and direction that eliminates confusion. Management’s job is to develop and share these values and principles with the  organization, empowering it to act and yes, break the rules if necessary to achieve and maintain those core values and principles.

Principles trump rules! Establishing and sharing those principles empowers the organization to act.





image“Trying to compromise EXCELLENCE, is like trying to let a little bit of air out of a balloon with a hat pin.” ~ Daniel R. Scoggin

Compromise is an immediate step toward the decline of performance. It is often motivated by cost cutting aimed at increasing profit. It is also used  by weak management when unable to produce the desired result due to the degree of difficulty in achieving EXCELLENCE. Great leaders do not compromise they lead, motivate and develop the systems that produce the desired result……but they do not compromise.

Remember there is another word for compromised excellence……MEDIOCRE!




“Focus on the care of your employees and customers and your profits will take care of themselves.” ~ Daniel R. Scoggin

Friday’s original success is legendary. The founding principles have spread across the globe. I receive emails from alumni quoting the metaphors, theories and philosophies regularly. During the early years our training manuals, control forms and systems were copied and used by hundreds of businesses large and small. It was our policy that this was our gift to the alumni and the industry at large. Today, many of the metaphors and theories are commonly found on the internet. The difficult part of the equation, however, is not commonly found and this is the most important part, the essential core values. The systems, theories and philosophies are ineffective without being connected to the principles behind them and held to the standard of excellence upon which they are based.

Common to the successful businesses I have researched, while writing the book, are core values, the standard of excellence and goals focused on their employees well being and their customers’ happiness. Without prompting, they all mentioned, in their own way, that they did not focus on profits, that if they stayed true to their principles the sales and profits took care of themselves.

Famous for his success in a very competitive business Herb Kelleher puts it this way, We tell our people, ‘Don’t worry about profit. Think customer service.’ Profit is a by-product of customer service. It is not an end in and of itself.”

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The answer is Friday’s. The second store we  built was in Houston with the first, in Dallas. The punch line is that Southwest only had three airplanes and we chartered one of them to take our faithful customers from the Dallas Greenville Avenue store to the opening night of the Houston Galleria store. I have tried over the years to get some mileage out of this by dropping the fact that I charted a third of the airline. I usually get disbelief at first and then a good laugh when I explain, but I don’t get bumped to First Class because flying with Southwest is always first class. (Maybe I’ll get a little mileage out of this blog!- just kidding.) Here is a quote from founder Herb Kelleher articulating one of their core principles and a reason WHY“We tell our people, ‘Don’t worry about profit. Think about customer service.’ Profit is a by-product of customer service. It’s not an end to itself.”

Friday’s founding principles focused on the same priority. I love Henry Ford’s quote on the topic, “A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.”

Note: See my Quotes page for more.

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“Learning the secret of flight from a bird was a good idea like learning the secret of magic from a magician.  After you once know the trick and know what to look for you see things that you did not notice when you did not know exactly what to look for.”  – Orville Wright


I love to sail and fly. Ironically they both share the common power PRINCIPLE of air foil. Once learned this PRINCIPLE has many applications and as with all PRINCIPLES, when violated you lose it’s power. Friday’s was founded on management PRINCIPLES that when violated lost their power. We can learn from Orville’s observation and once a PRINCIPLE is demonstrated, continue to learn from it and exploit it’s power.  Research for my book found many highly successful companies, in multiple fields employing the same PRINCIPLES upon which Friday’s was founded with equally outstanding results. Delightfully Friday’s UK is one of the most successful in my research. 

“Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

PS: The G650 is my metaphorical image of Friday’s during principled flight.

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