Thursday, May 08, 2008

Thriving On Excellence

Do you and your company every consider Excellence as a possibility for your company? Most of us rush through the day just trying to get the things done we need to get accomplished. We never pause and just take a break to consider far more important aspects of our business. We are always trying most days just to keep up.

LaDawn and I stopped for lunch yesterday - something we don't do very often, when I made an observation about the other guests in the Chinese restaurant. They were all taking a break, visiting with friends over lunch, and just plain slowing down. Of course, most were older, probably retired, but that's beside the point. It struck me that so many others not in the restaurant, were probably hitting the drive thru and making a mad dash back to work.

We need to take a break occasionally - slow down, and think about more than work. I start this blog every morning between 6 -7a.m. Things are quiet around here, and I just have some time to think - I love it. What have I been thinking about lately - Excellence!

How does Excellence relate to my business, how does it relate to yours? How many of us even consider the topic eligible for discussion in company meetings, staff conversation, studio goals? If we want to grow our business in these unusual and changing times for photographers, we need to seriously consider Excellence as one of the pillars of our core business philosophy. It becomes a great differentiators for our business among the sea of composition out there, most of whom have never considered Excellence as a component of their success strategy.

Rethink the possibilities for yourself. Is Excellence a key ingredient in your business strategy ? Do you just want to be good - wouldn't you rather be the best? How are you going to make it happen? You must have the "eye of the tiger" if you truly want to pursue Excellence - no back-sliding here - it will only make the road to Excellence longer. Everyday, you must find time, however brief, to reflect on it. It must become part of your being. You must clone the same genetic code into your employees too. Everyone on staff must realize that striving for Excellence is the only way to get close to it in all areas of photography, service, and delivered product.

This isn't something that's in a book that you can read. I know, I know - Tom Peters wrote the book In Search Of Excellence way back in 1982. It was one of my favorite reads back then. The eight core principals are just as true today as they were 27 years ago, but Mr. Peters will tell that times change ( read the "Confessions of Tom Peters" over at Fast Company right here.) And today, one of the key ingredients to the Excellence formula is to get smarter faster. The old stuff doesn't always work anymore. How true is this in the portrait, wedding business. As Tom Peters says, "There's no substitute for getting smarter faster. And the way that you get smarter is to screw around vigorously. Try stuff. See what works. See what fails miserably. Learn. Rinse. Repeat."

Still the only way to Excellence is practice, and practicing Excellence everyday by forfeiting compromise and "good enough thinking" is the only way we will get there. And, guess what, it's a nice journey. It is only by striving for Excellence that we can Thrive on Excellence!

End of business rant #86.

1 comment:

  1. So very true for any business. Excellence is hard work - that's why so few even think about it, and fewer still achieve it.

    I'm not producing excellent work - yet. But I'm moving in that direction thanks to people like you sharing their knowledge and passion.