Monday, March 21, 2011

Being A Person of Excellence - Part II

A couple of months ago, I had a need for a large book shelf, as the books in my study were growing out of proportion. I got a referral from a friend to use a carpenter. He came highly recommended and after showing him exactly what we wanted (my wife did the most of that bit) from a magazine, I was pretty sure he would deliver. After agreeing on price and delivery date, I closed the deal. Not too surprised though, the guy could only deliver 2 weeks late! He had this story about being ill and all that, and he didn’t deem it fit to call and negotiate his commitment. But that wasn’t what pissed me off. What really pissed me off was a tiny detail that he didn’t pay attention to. Can you imagine a book shelf where all the legs were not balanced on the floor? One leg was slightly shorter than the rest, causing a sort of imbalance. When I confronted him with this obvious defect, all he could say was “ It is just a small defect. It is nothing major. Since you are putting it in a rugged room, it won’t be a big deal”. I told him I wasn’t going to accept this, and to my amazement, he got angry with me! I mean, he really got mad at me that I would accept nothing less than what I had paid for. Needless to say that we live in an environment with thousands of folks like this, who will never autograph their work with excellence! What a tragedy!

Contrast this with a story I once heard from Harvey Mackay, (Business Motivational Speaker). He told a wonderful story about a cab driver in Chicago. Harvey Mackay was waiting in line for a taxi at the airport when a cab pulled up. The first thing Harvey noticed was that the taxi was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white shirt, black tie, and freshly pressed black slacks, the cab driver jumped out and rounded the car to open the back passenger door for Harvey. He handed him a laminated card and said: ‘I’m Wally, your driver. While I`m loading your bags in the trunk I`d like you to read my mission statement. ` Taken aback, Harvey read the card. It said:

Wally`s Mission Statement:

To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest and cheapest way possible in a friendly
environment.

This blew Harvey away. Especially when he noticed that the inside of the cab matched the outside. Spotlessly clean! As he slid behind the wheel, Wally said, `Would you like a cup of coffee? I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf. ` Jokingly, Harvey said, “No, I’d prefer a soft drink.” Wally smiled and said, “No problem. I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, water and orange juice.” Almost stuttering, Harvey said, “I’ll take a Diet Coke.”Handing Harvey his drink, Wally said, “If you’d like something to read, I have The Wall Street Journal, Time, Sports Illustrated and USA Today.”

As the taxi pulled away from the curb, Wally handed Harvey a laminated card and said, “These are the stations I get and the music they play if you’d like to listen to the radio.” As if that weren’t enough, Wally told Harvey the air conditioning was on and asked if the temperature was comfortable. The driver then advised Harvey of the best route to his destination for that time of day. Wally also let Harvey know that he’d be happy to chat and tell him about some of the sights or, if Harvey preferred, to leave him with his own thoughts.“Tell me, Wally,” the amazed passenger asked, “have you always served customers like this?”Wally smiled and looked in the rear view mirror. “No, not always. In fact, it’s only been in the last two years. My first five years driving, I spent most of my time complaining like all the rest of the cabbies do.” Wally had the chance to listen to to a personal growth guru on customer service and excellence and committed to excellence going forward. “I take it that has paid off for you,” Harvey said.“It sure has,” Wally replied. “My first year as an eagle, I doubled my income from the previous year. This year, I’ll probably quadruple it.” While excellence may appear costly at first, it eventually pays out! People are willing to pay extra for an excellent service.

In the 1st part of this article, I listed a couple of steps that should be taken by anyone who wants to be a person of excellence (I recommend you read it up). Here are a few more thoughts:

Pay attentions to details: "The magic behind every outstanding performance is always found in the smallest of details."If you long to accomplish great and noble tasks, you first must learn to approach every task as though it were great and noble. Ultimately, the key to excellence in every aspect of our lives is doing little things correctly, all the time, every time, so that each action produces an excellent result. When every detail is lovingly attended to, and each step in the process is given complete and careful attention, the end result inevitably will be of the highest quality.

Demonstrate Consistency: To be a person of excellence, you need to be consistent. Doing things right today, and changing your mind tomorrow will just make people perceive you as being rather sloppy. Your goals and values must be consistent. Your behaviours must be consistent and most of all, your results must be consistent. Commit and over deliver, each and every time. Build equity with your team and your customers. Whenever they think about you, they need to think of excellence.

Never stop Improving: People of excellence will stop at nothing to improve themselves. Nothing but the very best is good enough. They improve on their skills and knowledge every single day. They maximize every opportunity to learn.

Always give it your best shot: I am not a baseball expert. I don’t even understand the game that much. It doesn't matter if you don't play baseball--I don't! But the point remains: you have the bat, you have the reason to swing for the fence, and the rest is all moot. Take your best shot and make it count. This isn't baseball I'm talking about, this is life! Whatever you do, give it your best shot! Autograph your work with excellence…..always.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Being A Person of Excellence

We live in a society where mediocrity is the norm. So many people do just as little as they have to in order to get by. They are always looking for the easy way out. They make commitments that they can’t keep. They are always late to work. They don’t pay their bills on time. They dress shabbily. They’ve got a lazy, sloppy attitude. Are you one of those employees who arrive 5 minutes late to work and clocks out 10 minutes before closing time? Are you one of those shoppers who accidentally knocks a display of cans to the ground and conveniently walks away from the mess, thinking it is the responsibility of the store employees to clean up because after all, they get paid to do it? Do you think nothing of saying little white lies throughout your day? "But everyone lies, everyone leaves work early, everyone gossips, everyone makes messes and leave others to clean up. What's the big deal?" you may protest. The road to mediocrity is wide, comfortable and paved with compromises, lies and the refusal to do anything extra.
The road to mediocrity is wide, comfortable and paved with compromises, lies and the refusal to do anything extra.
God didn’t call any of us to be just average. He doesn’t want us to merely get by and do what everybody else is doing. He has called us to be cut above! He has called us to stand out in the crowd, to be people of excellence. He has called us to come up higher. A person of excellence goes the extra mile to do what’s right. He keeps his word even when it’s difficult. People of excellence have integrity; they pay their bills on time; they give their employer a full day’s work; they don’t come in late, leave early, or call in sick when they are not. When you have an excellent spirit, it shows up in the quality of your work, and the attitude with which you do it.

God's greatest concern and search in every generation is for people whose greatest quest is to move from average to excellence, and are willing to pay the price systematically and delightfully. I want to challenge you today to start making the better decision, not just the okay decision. I want to challenge you to make the more excellence choice. Make the decision to do what you know is the right choice and give it your all. I like the way an old friend, Bro Paul puts it in his epistle to the Colossians (Chapter 3:17)
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
(New Living Translation)
We are called to strive for excellence in order to be the best testimony for the Lord that we can be. People are watching to see what kind of a difference Jesus is making in your life, and you can point others to Him by being diligent in your tasks and being above reproach in your ethics. Daniel exemplified this spirit during his service as a highly regarded administrator in a secular environment. The Scripture says that "he distinguished himself among the administrators . . . because of his exceptional qualities" so much so that "they could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent" (Daniel 6:3-4).

You can run into mediocrity accidentally but you have to purpose to be excellent

Joyce Meyer once said, "Excellent people exceed expectations." In other words, they go the extra mile, they do more than is asked, and they take extra steps to ensure the highest quality. If people were to describe your work, would excellence come to mind or simply mediocrity? Meyer declared that "You can run into mediocrity accidentally but you have to purpose to be excellent." Thus, exercising minimal effort will lead to a mediocre performance at best, but really going above and beyond the call of duty takes a conscious effort.

Being excellent is not about comparing yourself with others. It is not about trying to outdo the other person. It is all about being the best that you know you can be. When you go out each day, you should look the best that you possibly can! When you go to do something, you should do it with you whole heart, giving it your best effort!

To be a person of excellence, consider the following steps:

Take pride in what God has blessed you with. No matter how small what you currently have is, take care of it! Your house may be small, but you can keep it clean. You can mow your lawn and make sure junk isn't piled in your front or back yard. Your car may be old, but you can take a few minutes each day to keep it looking nice and presentable. Don’t leave it looking like a junk yard. You may have only a few nice clothes at the moment, but take good care of them. Take extra care of whatever God has blessed you with at the moment! Be the one to stand out among the crowd, the one who will be faithful in the little things. If you can take care of what you have right now, God will bless you with something better.

Make excellent choices, even in the mundane. When you leave the grocery store with a full cart, don't just dump it wherever you want in the parking lot. Make the effort and bring it back where others carts are stacked. If you accidentally drop a blouse from a rack, don't just walk away and pretend you didn't see it. Pick it up and put it in its rightful place. If a cashier gives you more change than you are supposed to get, don't pray he or she will not notice and walk away. The money is not yours. Give the money back and don't try to fool yourself by saying God wanted you to have it. God doesn't bless people by taking something away from another. Those things may seem small, but they are the areas where the most compromises, excuses and justifications are made.

Be willing to pay the price for doing the right thing. Excellence comes at a price, and it is not cheap! Be willing to pay this price. If you are in a group where people tear others to shreds with mean-spirited comments, walk away. If everyone in your office lies and cheats to get ahead, don't get caught up. Be determined not to fall in that trap. You may think you won't have a friend left, but if you are faithful in the little things, God will reward you and bring better friends into your life. Don't be deceived: the bad choices people make will eventually catch up with them. Doing the right things may put you at a seeming disadvantage in the short run, but I bet it will eventually pay out.

Treat other people's property with respect. I remember how I use to deal with hotel facilities when I started getting the privilege from God to stay in top class hotels. I will go out of the room leaving things ON. “Well, I am paying a lot of money anyway, and these people need to earn their money” I reasoned. That’s not an excellent decision. Treat other people’s properties with respect. If you walk by a house, don't step on their grass, thinking it is all right as long as they don't see you. If a person was gracious enough to let you borrow a book, a tool or a plate, treat the items with care and don't keep them longer than necessary. The people you borrowed the things from may have forgotten about it, but return everything to them.

Be committed to living a life of excellence. Everyday, be determined to give life everything you have. Don't cut corners. Don't compromise. Don't lie. Don't gossip. Don't accept mediocrity. Go the extra mile. Put in the extra effort. Do a little more than what you have to do. Remember, you are representing God. Get rid of sloppiness, laziness and move to a higher level. God will beam down on you and reward you beyond anything you ever imagined.
Wherever you are, be all there.
The true goal of excellence is to do the best you can with what you have at every moment. Jim Elliot once said, "Wherever you are, be all there."