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Destination Excellence
By Valarie D. Willis

It is the beginning of a new year. Most of us are vowing to get into shape once and for all. Right! Well, the resolution sounds promising. We all know what we are suppose to do, but actually doing it, is a different story.

The same is true in business. There are alot of organizations who are giving the 'annual' state of the business union address, which will never be revisted the entire year.

In these tough economic times, businesses need to set themselves apart and the only way to really do that is to be an organization of consistent excellence. I had to put the word "consistent" in here, because I have noticed that maintaining and being consistent in excellence and great service is the achilles heel of business.

As I was driving back to the office the other day, I saw a truck that had the sign, "destination excellence' on its trailer. I immediately thought, that's it! This should be the goal of all great businesses, that they should intentionally drive towards excellence.

How is your organization doing? Do you even know what shape your organization is in? How do you find out? Well, at least that is an area that i can help you with.

In my work with the Tom Peters Companywe have developed a new business model to help organzations get in shape, get in alignment and understand where to direct and focus their energies. We call this model the Future Shape of the Winner. To support this model, we have developed an excellence assessment to show organizations how they are doing on their journey to excellence.

What We Have Discovered:

Our model has revealed and continues to shed light on the seven key elements of winners of the future. What do the future winners do differently than other companies? I will go into more detail in future editions, but here is a highlight of four of the seven elements. You will have to join me next month to get the last three!

1. Talent Centric:

Great companies know that talent is key. Doing tough times, talent will make or break your company when you are trying to rally everyone. How engaged is the talent in your area? How engaged are you, think about it? Good talent will always have a place to do, so your job as a leader is to retain your great talent. You do know who they are, don't you?

2. Ambition:

Does your talent have a compelling reason for people to jump out of bed on cold snowy days, like today and come to work all fired up? Well, if you have the right ambition for your company, people will feel more connected to and inspired by the organization. Have you heard any one say, "I love the this company" when they talk about your organiztion?

3. Performance:

What shape are your metrics in? Are you measuring the right things, or are your metrics in conflict with your values or service level agreements? For example, are you measuring the quantity of calls versus the quality? Are you recognizing sales people who run over customer service reps because they are making sales, but destroying morale? More importantly, does your talent understand the organization's metric and how the company makes money.

4. Experience:

In the age of the never satisfied customer, experience is the deal breaker. How integrated are your products and services to the customer or client experience? If you are a financial instituition with great products and poor service, or poor web navigation, well, game over. The experience people have with you as a leader, your team, or your company will make a difference in how you will be remembered. Loyal customers give you brand equity!

Take the first step:Don't you want to know how your organization is doing? Tell you what, go to my website, www.valariewillisconsulting.com and click on the link on the "Take the first step towards excellence" link and you get to take a complimentary mini assessment. That will be your first step in determining how you are doing. if you have questions, give me a call!

On My Bookshelf

This book was selected as one of the best business books of 2010!

The Little Big Things: 163 Ways to Pursue EXCELLENCE

With Excellence being the subject this month, Tom Peters is the man! Best known for his work entitled, In Search of Excellence. He is back with 163 ways to pursue excellence. This book is full of simple tips that we can easily implement. We have managed to complicate business, when it really is the little things that make a big difference.

Speaking of big, this is a hefty book, but since I got a Kindle for Christmas, I can haul a lot of Tom's books.

I would also love to hear your leadership tips and stories, so be sure to send me a note. I am looking to feature leaders and their stories, so if you have leadership story that you want to share, let me know!

Lead with Care!


Valarie Willis is a Senior Facilitator with Bluepoint Leadership Development. Learn more about Valarie Willis

Cleveland Women at ClevelandWomen.com

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