Thursday, May 22, 2014

Succeeding for the Long Haul

On May 20, somewhere in the neighborhood of 40+ people fought the Franklin afternoon traffic to attend my session on Succeeding for the Long Haul and purchased a signed copy of my new book, The Language of Excellence. While we covered a lot of the material in the book, Tom Peters and Nancy Austin wrote the punch line more than 30 years ago. In The Passion for Excellence, they wrote the following:
“…there are only two ways to create and sustain superior performance over the long haul. First, take exceptional care of your customers (for chicken, jet engines, education, health care, or baseball, etc.) via superior service and superior quality. Second, constantly innovate. That’s it. There are no alternatives in achieving long-term superior performance…”
Peter Drucker said the only sound objective is the pursuit of excellence; anything else is at best only competent and that leads to marginal.

It is all about the Model for Excellence:

You can only achieve excellence through people who truly care about their customers. Moreover, you do not get to decide if you have achieved your objective. Excellence must be earned through the eyes of those who judge you, your customers. Once you achieve it, you can only maintain it through constant innovation. All that—the right people, superior customer care, and constant innovation—requires a common sense of direction [something I call I-65 North] and in-touch leadership for which traditionally “Management by Wandering Around” was an essential tool. Today social media has provided us with extraordinary new ways for the leadership to stay in touch with customers, employees, vendors, and even competitors—never has in-touch leadership been so easy. Unfortunately, few take advantage of it, and fewer follow the advice of Peters and Austin.

As I made my closing remarks, I was surprised by the appearance of Tennessee State Representative Glen Casada who presented me with a proclamation of the Tennessee House of Representatives recognizing me for my business and literary achievements—a nice surprise.

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Tom Collins’ books include his book on leadership, The Language of Excellence, and his mystery novels including Mark Rollins’ New Career, Mark Rollins and the Rainmaker, Mark Rollins and the Puppeteer and the newest mystery, The Claret Murders. For signed copies, go to the author’s online store. unsigned print and ebook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. For an audio editon of The Claret Murders go to The ebook edition for the iPad is available through Apple iTunes’ iBookstore.

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