Excellence Is Not Enough

EXCELLENCE IS NOT ENOUGH! So declared the Father of In Search of Excellence to the staff (Talent!) of a superb professional services firm recently. At an “off site,” leaders had been working on clarifying values. After some serious deliberations, they’d landed on Integrity-Quality-Excellence, and presented me their findings.

And I said (suggested!) … No.

Of course I support Integrity-Quality-Excellence! And, moreover, the three often go A.W.O.L. And .. I think they ought to be on this Firm’s list, perhaps at the top.

But …

But all three Goals-Values-Aspirations are … Static!

This outfit climbed to the top of an insanely competitive heap by Daring to Be Different. And my simple (and constant) observation is that leaders … Get Conservative. Fast. Hence I argued that Goal #1 for my newfound friends was to … Stay Obstreperous!

We ended up with the following, two sets of words, both important. The First Set are static, even imitative:


Continuous Improvement.
Superior Service. (Exceeds Expectations.)
Completely Satisfactory Transaction.
Smooth Evolution.
Market Share.

The Second Set are dynamic, underscoring differences:


Dramatic Difference!
Insanely Great!
Life-(Industry-)changing Experience!
Ridiculously Fun!
Market Creation!

My point: I think a hearty dose of both is the RX for surviving, attracting and keeping Stellar Talent, and continuing to Rock the World.

So, assuming you/your unit or firm has a “value statement,” or some such, does it underscore “break-the-mold” as well as “build-an-excellent-mold”?

Excellence is not enough!

Tom Peters posted this on November 23, 2004, in Excellence.
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