Excellence is not cheap. It is not easy. It is the hard road. It is the long road. Yet, in the end, it is worth it. We have a value at Living Waters which has carried over from my high school days – “Excellence is Our Minimum Standard.” It used to be at the bottom of every letterhead and every report card. It was always in our faces. As high schoolers, we could even define excellence. As leaders, we shouldn’t live without it.
Excellence is the quality of being outstanding or extremely good. It shows an outstanding feature or quality. Our ministry ministers by it. My family moves by it. Our finances live by the phrase. It is not cheap but the dividends reap great rewards.
You can’t explain it. You can’t define it but when you see it, experience it, and it is part of your platform, people can’t resist it.
Walt Disney used a phrase for his work called plus it. When he desired to take his work to another level, he would ask his Imagineers to plus it. He would then sometimes tell them to plus it again. He did not desire for his work to be good. He wanted everything to be the best it could be. It wanted it excellently great!
When I think of excellence, I think of Walt. He was the same gentleman whose rule was to place trash cans around Disneyland spaced out in the amount of time it would take to eat an ice cream cone. The importance of keeping the park clean and user friendly and still keeping excellence. Thinking of every detail is crucial to building a culture of excellence.
Excellence can be expensive – really expensive. Disney desired to have a Christmas parade at his new park with a whopping price tag of $350,000. Today’s value would be in the millions. He was insistent on having it. It would surprise the guest. In his mind, it would take the guest experience from good to great. Yet, his bookkeepers and Imagineers were against it. It would cost so much. It would be more work to pull off and their argument was no one would be expecting it so why have it. Disney response: “We should do the parade precisely because no one’s expecting it!” And yes, he really did knock it out of the park with a Christmas parade still being held every Christmas season.
Yet, simple excellence is not always expensive. It can be free yet it make take a change on your part. I believe there are things you can do on a regular basis to begin to increase your excellent factor. One simple thing to do is to be on time. Being tardy appears to others as you being uninvolved, undisciplined, and the matter at hand unimportant. Contrary, being on time makes you look involved, focused, and the event or day important.
Look at your work or your performance. What can you do to take your work from good to great? What attitudes or actions should be altered to create excellence in your responsibilities? What changes should you make to your product or service which would make it irresistible if you and/or your team simply plus it?
Begin today. Walt Disney was born with an excellent spoon in his mouth. We need to remember it all started with a mouse!