Excellence all the way!
When the mortgage industry hit an all time high, we conducted many consulting assignments with mortgage companies. This industry was booming and you could find a mortgage company in every corner of the country. At one point, we provided consulting services to five consecutive mortgage companies.
This was superb because, we could begin some general analysis with companies in the same industries. After the third assignment, we could see trend developing and it was clear as a glass of water. As a standard procedure before starting any consulting project, we always analyze the accounting records of a company to determine its profitability, efficiency, and value creation. We also interview the top managers and regular employees to get a sense of the general organizational culture. It was striking to discover that those companies, in which the leader instilled a "Sense of Excellence" on a daily basis, did well financially.
The companies struggling in all corners had a general attitude of complacency. Remember, sense of excellence does not necessarily mean creating a high stress environment in which everyone in the organization is on the brink of blowing a gasket. This attitude means that every employee will thrive on a daily basis to become excellent and/or flawless in everything they do. These leaders force their employees to accept that they do not have tomorrow, next month or next year to become excellent in their job duties. They have today and only today to become excellent.
The leaders in these organizations were committed to excellence in such a manner that they didn't allow any moment of mediocrity. They make it a daily commitment to find a better system or methodology to execute regular business activities. They believe that markets change on a daily basis and as a result, businesses must adapt accordingly. Furthermore, the prospect of staying ahead of the competition relies solely on the ability of a leader to create an environment in which daily commitment to excellence is a standard.
Generally, to instill a sense of urgency in an organization, good leaders will build their teams around the following ideas:
New hires must understand the organizational culture, which should be operating with excellence the moment they join the organization. They must grasp and accept this organizational culture during the orientation process not months after they have already accustomed themselves to mediocrity.
These leaders will also create strong incentives for their employees to become innovative. In some instances, some the leaders will create a system in which "excellent" employees would get an automatic promotion over a manager. Other leaders develop monetary incentives to arrive at the same result.
To stretch the importance of the message, the best leaders make it a priority to confer this notion with their employees every time they interact with each other. As a result, their employees are mentally forced to attribute their leader with the term "excellence" and ultimately will take on that persona.