In order to achieve excellence, you have to demand excellence.
When you as CEO or business owner tolerate less than stellar performance from the workforce, you’ll get the level of performance you ask for. I’ve seen this often in organizations, where sloppiness, lack of diligence and inattention to detail are accepted elements of the company culture. This mindset leads to very bad habits that, if tolerated for too long, are very difficult to undo.
Quality performance isn’t easy to achieve. It requires a commitment and willingness to go the extra mile that some businesses consciously forego, in the alleged interest of saving time and money. Quality doesn’t work that way. If you want your people to adhere to a higher – or the highest – standard, you have to demand it. If you’re committed to delivering a product to a client, you have to be willing to take additional time to work out all the glitches, rather than sending out a substandard product.
Tolerating less than stellar work happens because of the harried pace at which we all operate. But I don’t believe that getting it done should ever trump getting it done right.
The same principle applies internally. On high-level projects, do you allow your team to give you inferior results? Then that’s what you’ll get it. On the other hand, you can consciously (and continuously) require that work will be done to the highest standards and that compromising on that standard isn’t an option.
The moment you start to compromise, your standard gets reduced to a new level of mediocrity. Allowed to go on this way, it can threaten the very foundations of your business.
If this is what you’re currently experiencing – and you know it – start sending the project (or whatever work is involved) back to the people in charge, with explicit instructions to raise expectations and performance from here on in. Ideally, expectations should be set in advance of any major initiative, so that you and your team can hold steadfastly to the standard and reject anything that fails to meet it. Be ruthless in this respect—coach, mentor, teach what you’re looking for. Don’t compromise!
Look at it from the client’s perspective. If you’re faced with the choice between receiving something substandard or waiting a little longer for a better result, wouldn’t you appreciate a call from your vendor saying, “Looking, we’re bumping up against the deadline and though we’ve endeavored to get it done on time, we don’t yet feel it’s up to our or your standard. It may be good enough for most companies, but not for us. Can you bear another day or two for us to get it right?”
Chances are, you’ll opt for quality every time.
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