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Creating a standard of excellence in your business

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Creating a standard of excellence in your business
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Some days I wake up and mull over the “what-if’s” of life. Selling a tangible product or delivering a service based on a trade contributes to the perceived notion of the grass being greener on the other side of the working fence. Thoughts wander to “what-if” I were a plumber, electrician, firefighter, police officer or any number of trade-based professions.

The appeal of being able to turn everything off at 5pm (or the end of a shift) and think not one more thought about business once the clock has been punched can be a fleeting fantasy.

The entire exercise is, of course, pointless and silly.

It is pointless because paradigm shifts of this magnitude are not likely to happen. It is silly because I don’t really want to change professions, I’d just like to find a little more balance in the much touted “work – life balance” equation.

I’m highly blessed to have the opportunity to work with well-recognized national and global brands. In the process of executing the work, I have to admit the lines between day parts can become blurry.

The desire to solve problems and discover answers that shift the fortunes of a client’s business keeps the juices flowing at all times of the day and night. Technology makes fulfillment of the addiction to work all too easy to satisfy. It’s so easy to “just answer a few emails” or “capture a few thoughts for tomorrow” when we have mobile devices with hearty apps that enable our compulsive behaviors.

Some of my ultra-competitive friends would find this entire line of thinking to be absurd. I know, and you do too, those who wear their non-stop mental engagement with work as a badge of courage. I remember reading a blog post during the holidays where the author advocated pushing the gas pedal ever harder during the week between Christmas and New Year’s to gain a fast start in the New Year and create separation from the competition while others were soaking up the sunshine.

The more I consider the pros and cons of different work-life routines, the more I understand the similarities among anyone who strives for excellence, regardless of their chosen profession.

The tradesman who stands above the crowd schedules work efficiently, shows up on time, performs quality work and charges a fair – even a premium price – in recognition of the total package of benefits they offer to customers.

The professional consultant who’s work goes beyond the defined deliverable, comes prepared to meetings, and never mails in recommendations also stands above the competition. We are specialists and it is special work that is expected by our clients.

In this business of customer loyalty, I remind myself constantly that we need to practice what we preach.

  • Do we deliver a value proposition that brings value to the client?
  • Do we communicate in ways that create trust, encourage commitment, and generate reciprocal value in the relationship?

Over the years, I’ve seen companies espousing the virtues of loyalty and trust to clients, but only deliver to the letter of a contract. I’ve seen those that dutifully attend meetings with the goal to “finish the project” while missing the point that recommendations need to be clearly tied to increased revenues and profits for the client paying the bills.

There are pros and cons to every business model and, in my case, the ability to deliver beyond expectations can occasionally challenge the work-life balance. More than ever, I believe that an earnest approach, diligent and consistent effort, and unwavering confidence to stand behind recommendations are the ways we set ourselves apart from the competition and create a standard of excellence in our work.

By doing so, we consistently remain valuable partners to our clients. I’ll never let up on that idea, no matter what time of day it is.

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