Last week on LinkedIn the owners of a company celebrating its 85 birthday were asked what they thought was the root of their success. Their answer was:
“It’s about the team spirit – all putting their best on the plate. And also about the strict commitment to quality.”
This response spoke immediately to me because for some time already I’ve been trying to put the finger on
what exactly makes me respect, appreciate other people and their work so much – or not.
It’s super disturbing when people are too easily satisfied with themselves and their work, don’t you think? Why? The reason is simple: Because in most of the cases this means the work is mediocre. In some fields this might be sufficient… though reflecting upon it… when will average ever do (in the long run)?
I thought a lot of details that could make the difference – in the end it seems like they don’t really matter – whether you think about a butcher, a vineyard, a restaurant, a car manufacturer, a scientist, a marketing consultant.
The primary differentiator between ‘the good ones’ vs ‘the rest’:
“A strict commitment to quality.”
So that’s the characteristic I am looking for in my favourite clients and of course also in our ‘Gang members’ and so often am happy to find!
“Commitment to quality” contains the idea that you will seldom need someone from the outside to tell you things could be better and in what way.
You always challenge yourself first
– and will never really be satisfied till you reach that next level. Sometimes this high standard will be a bit too high, yes, and yet:
Isn’t it always better to deliver better quality than expected than to underdeliver?
On the other hand, you might feel unsatisfied that your high standard is not met by your work yet – but my bet is that
Someone who is striving high will definitely end up with higher quality than the person who is not aiming there.
After all, being able to tell the difference between something valuable and something that is mediocre or worse is what makes you an expert in a particular field. So it’s a good thing if you’re highly critical as long as it doesn’t get you stuck.
Of course, you can’t deliver top quality everywhere
Thinking about my company, its accounting and admin matters – frankly, they are not really my playground of ambition and – to be quite open about it – my work in that area probably has been mediocre. Mediocre is ok for some months, on the long run it’s not good enough. I know this area of my business SHOULD feel clean and spotless – for a loss of options, for years I had accepted that
it felt okayish with a sprinkle of Kafkaesque ‘what if I’ve missed out on sth. really important!?”
So something had to change. And here’s the trick:
Yes, you can delegate “commitment to quality” (and get out of the way)
For quite some time I had felt that it was ok to put on the best quality standards regarding my core work – and try ignoring the mediocrity adding up elsewhere. That is: Until I recognised how much I love to visit companies where even the production hall feels like a spotlessly polished ship.
I decided that this situation had to end and set up a new support solution for this work area. Now OVERW8s admin & accounting person shows the same commitment to quality – including vision and ambition to make things better in her work area. So after all, this work areas’ quality is taken care of – and even though it’s not perfect YET, it’s moving in the right direction.
Over to you – use these questions as prompts to reflect on your work and your company. Feel free to share your insights:
In which areas do you feel the strict commitment to quality most?
In which areas of your business don’t you feel it?
How could you delegate it to a ‘quality ambassador’?