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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