Job Excellence – It may mean as much to the quality of your health as it does to the quality of your work.
Your life is the sum total of your actions. In the end it’s about what you have done with the time you have been given. Would you want this postscript on your epitaph? “PS: I wish I woulda…”
Our actions define who we are and demonstrate our philosophy in life. There are many things we can’t control; however, doing our best is one we can. When you were young, like me you were probably told to do your best. What we weren’t told is that doing our best may be one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves.
Studies have correlated good health with positive job satisfaction. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by doing your best at whatever you are doing. Doing your best and knowing that you are really good at your job feels good and reduces stress by releasing chemicals in your brain that have a positive effect on your health. Anyone who has ever done something they were proud of; (shined up a car, planted a garden, crafted a perfect sling, or closed a big sale), has glowed as they surveyed their accomplishment. Some of the biggest smiles have come from a job well done.
It’s not only good for you; it radiates out and touches others as well. It’s a contagious energy that separates successful people and companies from the herd. But it doesn’t happen by itself. It has to be part of your business culture, encouraged and recognized. Products and services are becoming commoditized. In any city at any time there can be dozens of competitors waiting to undercut your price on the same product, while promising greater service. The only differentiating factor in many businesses is the consistent quality that people contribute on a daily basis. It may be a quick courteous response to an inquiry or a complaint, taking a minute to help a co-worker, or measuring that length of wire rope one more time, because you fear you may have been distracted, that makes the difference and keeps that customer coming back. If you told someone that you would get them an answer or do something for them, be sure and follow through. Do what you said you would, and then take one extra minute to make it a little easier and little better than you promised.
What Gets in the Way?
One of the primary causes of employee dissatisfaction (and of not doing one’s best), is when the employee does not know what’s expected of them. Constant crisis management, lack of planning and feeling underappreciated are right up there too.
Every action starts with a desire, intention and a thought. So think! Whether you are a manager defining roles and responsibilities, trying to improve efficiency on the shop floor, or actually doing the physical work of the business, ask yourself; how can I/we do my/our job better? It’s estimated that 1 minute in planning saves an average of 12 minutes in execution. Start with the end in mind. Which should be; how do we as a team and I as a team member accomplish this task better, and more profitably serve our clients? Don’t neglect to focus on how to make the process more enjoyable as well; you get results where you focus, so aim your focus. Get together with your team and share ideas, even for just a few minutes early in the day, communication is essential for success. Establish procedures and simplify. Create success habits and become system dependent rather than people dependent. This is precisely what getting ISO certified forces you to do.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” –Aristotle
If people are asking for the 3rd or possibly the 100th time “how do we…?” You need a system. Ray Kroc didn’t produce the greatest hamburger, however, he did produce one of the greatest business systems the world has ever known–and 250 billion people keep coming back to McDonald’s! People like predictability, customers and employees want predictability, not surprises. In the book, “The One Minute Manager”, authors Kenneth Blanchard & Spencer Johnson suggest taking one minute before you act to ask yourself, what is the desired outcome or goal of this undertaking? You will be amazed at how it focuses your attention and helps you communicate more effectively with others. Look for ways to save your clients and co-workers time, money, or heartache, and write them down. Don’t just meet expectations, exceed them. That happens consistently only when it is a defined goal or objective.
What Does Your Best Mean to the Organization?
Dr. Rice, Texas A&M University, points out that errors and reworks cost 30-100% of the profit from a typical order. Customer loyalty expert and author Frederick Reichheld says that a typical U.S. corporation loses 50% of its customers every 5 years. The cost of acquiring new ones is 5-12 times that of keeping an existing one. A 5% increase in customer retention can increase organization profits by 25-100%. A single tweak in the right place can make an enormous difference.
If you or your team members aren’t doing your best – this is the place to focus. Simply by giving your best in every situation and circumstance you will realize better health, increased job satisfaction and compensation, while attracting and retaining the most profitable clients. Please share your job excellence recommendations or stories that can help others in our industry.