In Action, Change

“If you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today.  As of this second, quit doing less-than-excellent work.” – Thomas Watson

One thing I hear almost every organization talk about is their commitment to providing their customers with a quality product or service.  I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve heard a leadership team say that quality is completely meaningless, or that they don’t care about it.  That’s partly because customers tend to want some level of quality, but also because our pride won’t allow us to commit to (or admit to) doing poor work.

Still, there is a lot of less-than-spectacular work being done in the world.  We all recognize it, because usually right after an organization talks about their commitment to quality they start talking about how their competitors’ products aren’t as high quality as their own.  And I’m sure they’re saying the same thing about us.

Regardless of any of that, most leaders want their organizations to perform at a high level.  Think about your business.  Are you satisfied with what you do?  Or are you always pushing to produce higher and higher quality products and services for your customers?  Most of you would say you fit into the second category, and I’d agree.

But what about the rest of your business?  It’s easy to say you want to produce better products.  What about how your business develops people?  What about how your business handles marketing?  What about how your business develops strategy?

While most businesses are eager to improve things that clearly and directly impact their products, too many of them are willing to essentially ignore things that have a less obvious impact.  I’ve seen organizations spend millions of dollars on a piece of equipment, or engineering, or sourcing better inputs, while completely ignoring “soft” things like people & strategy.

Think about your business.  How would you rate your HR function?  Remember that your people are the ones producing that product.  Don’t you think how you hire/develop/compensate/etc. those people will have an impact on the quality of your product?  Think about all the pieces of your business that are less glamorous and less directly customer-facing.  They still have an impact – are you working on them too?

Don’t forget that all the pieces of your business work together to provide whatever it is you do for your customers.  Some of their impact may be less obvious, but there’s an impact nonetheless.  Make sure that in 2023, you put some energy into making sure those pieces measure up.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Chris Mason

    Do you have any diagnostics that we could use to assess where people are on their soft skills and capabilities?

    • Matt Heemstra

      As a matter of fact, we do – happy to share with anybody who’s interested

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