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The Equation Of Excellence

Ranked as the “greatest business book of all time” in a 2002 poll by Britain’s Bloomsbury Publishing, this best-selling business book has long been a must-have for the boardroom, business school, and bedside table. In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies (with Robert H. Waterman, Jr.), 1982

The book was primarily about three things, Listen to your customers. Take care of your people, and don’t let your values slip or slacken.

Tom Peters has searched the world over for businesses in Search of Excellence, he latest book The Little BIG Things: 163 Ways to Pursue EXCELLENCE, 2010 continues the family of books on Excellence.

So why do I mention these books? Just this past week I had a brief online conversation after I posted a question on Twitter & FaceBook. It was a simple question meant to make you think about what Excellence looks like to you, and how do we measure it. So I’ll pose the question to you:

Is your Pursuit Quantity or Quality? – Or should it be Excellence?

Now the question seemed confusing but, two interesting comments / statements came back to me. One was a question that confirmed the confusion, having said that, it was an interesting thought.

How does pursuing quality differ from pursuing excellence?

My response even surprised me, and it got me to thinking:

Quality & Excellence are not the same thing. Quality is part of an equation that determines Excellence.

Another friend of mine kept it simple, but was it really?

My pursuit is to simply do my best at all times.

I possed another question.

There is the problem, how is your best measured, how do you know it’s your best?

The conversation continued for some time and again kept it simple:

Well, it’s measured in that moment of ‘doing’. I consciously know if I’m doing my best at any given time. Sometimes, we’re tired, and sometimes we’re completely energized – our best varies on where we are. I think we all know when we’re doing our best – like an internal barometer.

Still not happy with the answer, I drilled deeper not letting my friend off the hook:

Based on that statement, you only seem to know when you’re doing best by how you feel. Emotions are not always the best way to measure where one is at.

You must have some indicators that you monitor that keep you on track, that keep you focused, that ensure some sense of quality. Pursuing Excellence is a complicated set of habits that equal Excellence, but only you can set the standard of those habits, you are setting the bar for you business. If you don’t, someone else will judge you or your business on bad information / Excellence.

Two things struck me, there probably should be more than two, but….one, everyone seems to have a different view on how Excellence is measured. And two, I have come to the conclusion that there is this equation that takes you to a value called Excellence. This equation is something each business owner must look long and hard at, it doesn’t even have to be a business, anything in life that you measure and wish to have some level of Excellence. You or the business owner, has to set the bar, and those who experience you, your brand, and or your business will decide if it was Excellence. So there is alot to consider in the equation.

Is or has how we value Excellence changed because of technology, systems and more efficient ways of obtaining the almighty level of Excellence? Is Excellence easier to obtain because of technology, or ways of automating simple tasks?

Will the future of Excellence morph, will the definition of the word be changed because of how we measure Excellence? In my small understanding, Excellence would be a series of habits or action items done exceptionally well, how many habits makeup this equation, or do we go by how we feel? (not recommended)

The question is yours now, what does the equation of Excellence look like in your opinion?

About Owen Greaves

I'm a Futurist, I write, speak, and teach the open & free business model, the future of business. Create. Differentiate. Deliver.  

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