Achieving Business Excellence with John Spence

Do You Really Want To Be The Best In The World?

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Business tips and helpDuring the past 20 years I have done hundreds of strategic planning retreats and often times when crafting a vision statement my clients will decide that they should set their BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) to become number one in the world in their field. This sounds really nice, and for a very few organizations it is attainable, but most organizations will never, ever be number one in the world at what they do. And to me, that is absolutely fine.

Yes, you just heard a guy who teaches excellence for living say that it is perfectly acceptable to be slightly above average. The hard truth is, it is insanely difficult to become the world leader at just about anything. It takes massive amounts of work, huge sacrifice, incredible focus and a truckload of grit and persistence. Just take a look at anyone who has achieved the top slot in the world at what they do and you will see someone who has dedicated their entire life to the attainment of true excellence in their field.

A great example that has been used a lot lately is the United States Navy SEALs. I have seen countless articles in recent months about SEAL discipline, SEAL leadership, SEAL dedication and all of the other factors it takes to be an elite Special Operations soldier. Here’s the deal, the reason they call these people “elite” is because very, very, very few people are willing to pay the price necessary to become a Navy SEAL… and the same goes for an organization that wants to become, as one of my clients said in their vision statement, “The intergalactic expert on_______.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I think excellence is, well, excellent. I think that every organization should strive to be the very best they can be. But I also think running an above average business, that is highly profitable, takes great care of their employees, delivers real value to their customers and contributes to their community – is just as excellent.

So don’t stress so much. You don’t have to be the biggest or best in the world, you just need to run a good, solid and sustainably successful business. That is a major accomplishment in and of itself, so be very proud of it.

What are your thoughts?

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Comments

  1. Great post! I think it is very important for every organization to strive to be the best they can be. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I get faulted for trying to sell the right solution instead of the real solution. Truth is, many companies are trying to buy “good enough” rather than great but not perfect. Companies rarely pay for perfection any more. But they should not settle for good enough – and I think that is your point. Thanks.

    • Thanks so much for the comment Dan, and yes that is my point… If you want to run a world-class company.

      I find many businesses talk about being great, talk about being number one, talk about being the best… Then settle for mediocrity. We have a saying in our company:

      Once you start accepting mediocrity, you become a magnet for mediocrity.

      I truly appreciate you participating in this discussion – thanks – John

  3. “I think that every organization should strive to be the very best they can be. But I also think running an above average business, that is highly profitable, takes great care of their employees, delivers real value to their customers and contributes to their community – is just as excellent.” We strive to be excellent and the best in the world, we accept “profitable, takes great care of their employees, delivers real value to their customers and contributes to their community.” Another great brain worker John. Thanks.

  4. Michelle says:

    It takes more than just being the best at what they can be for a company to be number one in the world in their field. A company must be the best that anyone can be in their field with no room for mediocraty in caring for employees, being profitable and delivering value to customers to achieve that standard. There is also an order of operations which anyone in the company faced with the choice of where to allocate their resources must be flexible and committed enough to attend to the area that requires their attention at any given moment without upsetting the balance in the other areas. Everyone in the company must be on board with the same commitment and diligence to achieving first place with every thought and action. It takes a consistent and concerted effort with the discipline to quickly learn from mistakes and adapt in order to move on quickly and get back to business.