Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Myth of Excellence

** I'm porting over some of my old posts.  Enjoy! **

The Myth of Excellence is a book about focusing your efforts where they will do your company the most good.  No company, and no individual can excel at everything all of the time.  The premise of the book is to make a thoughtful choice on what your business will focus on.  It breaks business down into Price, Service, Product, Experience, and Access.  The authors suggest you choose one of these to excel at, one to differentiate yourself on, and then suggests you try to meet expectations on the other.

I like this concept as many of the companies I have worked for that didn't do this were frustrating to work for, and failing.  One I worked for attempted to focus on all of these through their corporate motto, which was a conglomeration of words that basically stated they focused on everything.  Employees, Customers, Income, Product, and their processes.  Who can keep up with that?  How do you make decisions?  Another company I worked for didn't even give you that much.  Each time you would complete a project they would simply complain about whichever attribute you focused on the least.  The idea being that everything should be at such a high level of perfection as to leave nothing to complain about.  Most of the people I worked for there were burned out.

In the late 90's I worked at Creative Labs.  When I first started, we had a clear focus.  We built the best product out there, and we provided strong service to back that product up.  Everything else was secondary.  Don't get me wrong, we met expectations in the other attributes.  We had to, to do otherwise was to throw customers over to the competition.  Later the company began to focus on more, and the company faltered for the next few years.  I understand they have more recently begun to pull back, re focus, and rebuild.

The ideas in this book resonate with my personal experience.  It provides guidelines on how to keep a business running with a clear set of priorities.  I enjoyed the book and recommend you read it.

Get to reading!

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