Is demanding excellence from a company’s employees easy? Is it a simple declaration, or is there more involved? Well, if a company wants excellence, it must expect excellence, not only from itself, but also from how it conducts business, and that requires a higher level of accountability for both its managers, and employees alike. There is no middle ground. There is no hierarchy. It is only the company, and its employees, continually raising the bar of excellence. It’s not just a moniker, but involves putting the right people in the right positions. Sure, this isn’t easy, and companies are always complaining about the lack of quality employees. However, are companies really trying to get the best, or simply going for the next best option?
These days, it seems like there are answers for every possible business problem. One can buy a book, hire a consultant or search online for the answers to the most pressing questions businesses face every day. However, should a company have to look those answers up, or should it have the right people, with the right knowledge, capable of answering those questions and solving the problems on their own? While there are still times when a little research is needed, it must be considered a last resort. The answers to those difficult questions, and the solutions to those problems, must come from inside the company. Only those inside the company understand the true nature of the problem, and how best to solve it. There are no quick fixes. The best employees take the time to think through issues, and have the follow through capabilities to see their solutions mature. So, the question remains, how can a company go about demanding excellence? Well, here are a couple of steps that can help raise the bar of performance.
There is no effort without reward, and for companies that demand excellence and increased performance, there must be some kind of compensation for a job well done. Otherwise, these declarations are meaningless. Goals and objectives must have meanings beyond just being able to accomplish them. Employees must be invested in the outcome of the company, and buoyed by results. When a company comes up with an objective for growth, it must first explain the benefits to the company, and its workforce. Once that objective is achieved, it must reward its employees. There is nothing more damaging to the success of a company, than to have an indifferent workforce who sees their employment at the company as simply a job, and not a career.
Imagine a situation where a company sets goals and objective, reaches those objectives, but doesn’t recognize the efforts of its employees. In fact, the company acts as if the extra efforts of its employees were expected. How would you feel as an employee? What if that company continually hired outside the company for key positions? How would you feel then? While companies must be able to hire from outside its doors, it must first take the time to look inside to fill those key positions. Compensation for a job well done is one part of the equation, but the recognition of a promotion is something else entirely. In addition, promotions don’t necessarily have to be hierarchal. They can be promoting someone to be in charge of a cross-functional project team to alleviate a problem.
When a company decides to upgrade its performance, is it acceptable to have some employees who go the extra mile, while others don’t? Of course it isn’t. However, in a number of cases, companies often make excuses for those employees who are either unwilling, or unable, to increase their performance. Perhaps these individuals have been at the company since the beginning, or perhaps work in positions that are seen as less impactful. Whatever the reason, there is simply no excuse for raising the bar for some, and not for others. Therefore, companies must make sure to address any deficiencies, and must work towards improving the skill level of all employees.
Central to the theme of demanding excellence is the understanding that with every success comes a little failure. The best people learn from their mistakes, and welcome them as learning experiences. Excellence comes not from always being successful, but from understanding failure and taking the time to review what went wrong and why. Welcome failures as learning experiences and provide positive feedback for increased effort. Mistakes will be made, but the worst mistake is to not take the time to learn from them.
When companies decide to raise the level of their performance, they must learn to lead by example. It requires hiring the right people, and holding every employee, including management, accountable to each other, to the company and to its goals and objectives. Incentivize employees to produce results, and recognize accomplishments by promoting from within. Finally, demand excellence from everyone, and make no excuses for lack of effort. The best organizations are pillars of performance, and lead by example.
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