A little while back, a friend and I decided to have coffee at a little café because the large sign outside said we could pay by credit card. As we ordered, the friendly waiter informed us that their card machine was broken, but asked us to go ahead and order though because he would find us another payment solution. I was pretty impressed by his enthusiasm and can-do attitude!
But the best was yet to come. When we finished our drinks, our waiter walked over and apologized because none of his anticipated solutions had worked. I braced myself knowing that none of us had any cash, which is why we were there in the first place. To my surprise, he wrote his name and phone number on a piece of paper and asked us to send him the money when we got it. I was so amazed that I immediately asked him if he was one of the owners. Turns out he wasn’t; he simply wanted to take responsibility for giving us the wrong information. As we walked away, my friend and I each decided to hold on to his number in case we needed to hire someone in customer care anytime soon!
I suspect many you are just as surprised when you encounter excellent service! We’re much more accustomed to surly glances, gruff voices, delays, broken promises, and systems that don’t work. When we encounter excellence, we scratch our heads and look for the catch!
But it really should not be so. It’s excellence that sets people apart and helps them succeed over the long term – whether in business, career or relationships. And the good news is that excellence is not the preserve of a few; all of us have the capacity for it! That’s because excellence has even more to do with consistency and practice than with talent.
Author Malcolm Gladwell in his famous book ‘Outliers’ studied individuals who are known for their excellence. He discovered that it takes ten thousand hours of consistent practice to become excellent in the area that you’re talented in! The greatest athletes all trained harder than people in the same sport who were less talented. Michael Jordan, one of the greatest sportsmen ever, was said to consistently have been the first at practice and the last to leave.
I know a lot of extremely talented people who never seem to thrive or go far. I’ve also met people who were relatively less talented and yet thrive wherever you place them. That’s because your talent opens the door but it’s excellence that keeps you inside! And excellence doesn’t happen by accident. It takes decision, determination and effort. As Albert Einstein said ‘genius is one percent inspiration and ninety nine percent perspiration’.
The good book talks about a man called Daniel who consistently got promoted regardless of who was in charge, ‘because an excellent spirit was in him’. This week, why not determine to develop a personal reputation for excellence? Remember, if it’s not worth doing well, it’s not worth doing at all!
Here’s a great quote from Aristotle…