Chris LoCurto: We expect excellence, but how do we create it in our teams? That is coming up next.
Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show where we discuss leadership and life and discover that business is what you do, not who you are.
Welcome to the show folks. Today we’re talking about creating excellence, especially in your teams. You as leaders…What is excellence? Why does it matter? Well, I think we’ve all experienced a lack of excellence with another company or a person. I know for me, every Monday we have staff meeting and one of the things that I do is I make sure that from time to time I’m bringing in pieces that are culture lessons.
What a lack of excellence looks like…
A good example was recently we just did our first international StratPlan, which was down in Australia with a fantastic company with great people down there. Shout out to my mates down there. One of the things we experienced while we were at a hotel, it was very interesting. We had all this food brought in and we had somebody who was cleaning up around the room, came over and went to take some of the food that one of the team members wanted to eat, and so she just reached up and said, “Oh, sorry, can we grab that?” And the person taking it away had this look of like, are you kidding me?
You’re stopping me so that you can have that small thing.? Now, no words were exchanged. We don’t know what went through that person’s mind. We don’t know what they were experiencing that day. We don’t know any of that, but what we do know is what that person’s response was, “Wow, I can’t believe you’re stopping me cleaning this up so that you can have that piece of food.” Guys. We’ve all experienced that type of stuff. We’ve experienced what a lack of excellence looks like right?
Now, the person that was grabbing the food actually apologized to the person cleaning up the room, to which I looked at them and said, “You don’t need to apologize because you want that food. If this person isn’t receiving this well or if they’re having a struggle with it, that’s their problem. You don’t need to apologize because you want the food.
You paid for that food, so don’t worry about it.” So interestingly, a couple of days later, the very person who was cleaning up the room took extra care of me and the team in there. Maybe it was something that they realized “Oh,I wasn’t being excellent,” but they went above and beyond to be excellent in a couple of situations. So we’ve all experienced that. Unfortunately a lot of times it’s been us. You know, sometimes I are the person, right? I’m the one who’s not being excellent.
Sometimes you have to fight for a refund that you were guaranteed. You return something or you get a guarantee of a refund on something and then the quality of the thing is bad. You go to return it and then you have to fight to get this refund. Sometimes it takes you three different representatives at a company before you can actually get somebody who can help you in the process where you keep getting transferred from one department to another.
It is like you just want to take the two people who keep transferring you back and forth go, oh my gosh. Would you two actually have some sort of communication? Or rude staff in a restaurant, rude staff in a hotel, and we’ve all experienced that, right? Sometimes it might be our people doing that very thing. These are just some of the things that drive us crazy in day to day life and influence who we choose to do business with. So it’s important that you take on an expectation of excellence.
It’s important that you take on a culture of excellence inside of your team, inside of your business.If you don’t, then it’s possible you might have team members that aren’t being excellent, which can cause customers to come along and experience that and decide maybe you’re not the people that we want to work with, so what does excellence look like in your office or in your team? Think about it this way…
What excellence could look like in your workplace
Imagine you’re part of a team or leading a team that shows up to work on time and ready to give their all every morning. They’re doing high quality work. They know what’s next. If there’s a problem, it’s solved and corrected quickly. They take personal responsibility. Everyone works together as a team without gossiping or blaming others. Clients are taken care of exceptionally well and there isn’t anyone being careless about work or lacking diligence. Excellence is something so many business owners and leaders automatically expect from their team, but does the team know what excellence looks like in the first place?
That is what we’re going to be talking about today. Folks. This episode is brought to you by next level life. Next level life is our two day personal discovery experience. It’s a one on one personalized event where we guide you through a process to help you discover your root system, get unstuck in life, and discover what’s holding you back from freedom and peace. Think about it. What if you could wake up every morning with a clear purpose? What would it look like to have healthier relationships, less conflict?
Where would you be next year if you had clarity, purpose, and peace? Probably a big difference from where you stand today. I know it’s possible because I’ve been where you are asking myself, is there more than just this? There is a better way and it starts with Next-Level Life. You can go to ChrisLoCurto.com/discover to take the next step.
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Where to start creating a culture of excellence
The first thing you have to ask yourself as a leader or even as an individual who wants to be more excellent is, “What makes us think that people have been taught how to be excellent? Why do you think somebody should be excellent? Leaders, Business owners, why do you expect excellence from your team? Have you taught them? Are you sure they know what excellence looks like? Do you have a culture of excellence? Are you doing all the things you need to do to make sure that person is successful at being excellent?”
That’s got to be the place that you start. Why do I believe that the people I’m paying, the people that are on my team or me as an individual, why do I believe that I even know how to be excellent. I think there’s a lot of people that want to be excellent. They desire to be excellent. They even think that they are excellent, but when they stop and look at it, what they discover is, Huh? I actually don’t know how to be excellent. The first thing we want to look at is where did they learn their level of excellence? If it came from other people before them, like parents or teachers or former leaders or even friends, then what makes you think that they had excellence? What was their level? How do we know that they know how to be excellent or teach excellence or train excellence?
If they bring their concept of excellence to your organization, what is their concept? So many hires are rarely coming from a culture better than yours. You very rarely see somebody leaving a great organization to go to an organization that’s not better than the one that they’re at. You know the culture is what I’m saying, so they may be bringing their concept of excellence to your organization and it may not actually be that great of a concept. It may not be excellent.
If you’re not spending time with your team showing them what excellence looks like and teaching them about excellence, then they’re going to do the best that they know how to. So you can only expect the level of excellence from them that you know that they have. If you want them to have a greater concept of excellence or one that matches what you think, then you’ve got to make sure that you’re training them.
How to teach excellence
You’ve got to make sure that you’re teaching them. You got to make sure that you’re helping them to get there. Number two, to have excellence in your business, you have to create a culture of excellence by teaching excellence. This is one of the things we teach in the culture lesson that we do, is that you have to teach the very culture that you want, so when it comes to culture, let me back into culture so that you understand the concept of culture, of excellence, right? To teach the kind of culture that you want. You have to actually discover what is it that we want it to look like, and then you have to teach people what it is.
They don’t know how to be excellent if you haven’t taught them, they don’t know how to take care of your clients the way that you want them to if you have not taught them, these are things that you’ve got to teach them. When it comes to creating that culture of excellence, it doesn’t matter if you sit down, you can write down exactly what a culture of excellence looks like. You could bullet point the daylights out of this thing and put on a powerpoint if you don’t actually teach it to your team, if you don’t actually make sure they understand what that looks like.
If you don’t actually help them to get to that place of being able to really execute on that excellence. It doesn’t matter. You haven’t changed your culture and they will continue to do the very things that they’ve done in the past. You have to point out and recognize excellence on a regular basis. Now, leaders and business owners, especially business owners, this is something that we struggle with, right?
We have no problem pointing out what people are doing wrong. If we say something wrong, we can jump on that pretty darn quickly. Hey, that’s not how we do that. Hey, you don’t treat that person that way. Hey, you don’t talk to a client that way. Hey, this is wrong. This is wrong. Fix this, do this. We don’t have a problem helping people to see things that they’re doing wrong.
What we really struggle with is helping them to see the things that they’re doing right, so you need to focus on pointing out and recognizing the excellence that’s happening when somebody is being excellent…one of the things that we do in our staff meetings or individual meetings or even just standing around the kitchen, we will be pointing out when people are being excellent.
When somebody does a great job on something, we share that we make sure that we’re pointing that out so that not only the person who’s being excellent understands it and sees it and feels good about it because they’ve done a great job, but so everybody else around hears the same thing. Hey guys, this is what excellence looks like. This was a great job. Hey Daniel, great job in leading this team to success over in this situation. Hey Andrea, great job in taking care of our clients. Hey Savannah, great job in putting together the content, whatever it is, we’re constantly recognizing people being excellent.
We’re also helping people to see we have a ton of accountability in this business where we will also help people to see where they’re not doing things right. That is not an issue for us. We have accountability. If you do a great culture of accountability and a culture of excellence, then you don’t have a ton of times where you have to point out things going wrong because people are doing a great job. Recognize the excellence on a regular basis. Look for opportunities. This is your teaching. That recognition is helping people to see this is what excellence looks like.
If you do this, then your team will start having buy in as well as taking ownership in the excellence culture. As I go through and share on Monday staff meetings, hey guys here’s something I experienced with a vendor. Here’s something I experienced at a hotel. When you do that, guess what you get? Buy in. You get ownership in the excellence culture which will lead to your team taking care of your customers better. That’s what happens when excellence shows up. When you’ve done a great job teaching it, when you’ve done a phenomenal job being an example of it…Being excellent doesn’t mean you don’t make mistakes.
Being excellent doesn’t mean you don’t screw up. You’re going to have situations. You’re going to do things wrong. You’re going to make mistakes. That’s what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about a mindset. We’re talking about your heart toward what you do, so being excellent is more the buy in to a culture of…we go above and beyond to serve, to do our job incredibly well, to think ahead, to solve problems.
When things do go awry, we fix it as fast as we possibly can. Being excellent means that we make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future, so weekly action steps, things you can do this week, point out where you’ve seen excellence in your team, point out where you’ve seen excellence in the building. People do what they are rewarded for and they will repeat what’s rewarded. Find something, find something, find something. Make this a part of your routine, weekly routine that you are finding excellence inside of the building and you are reporting on it that you’re talking about it, that you’re pointing it out. Try and do it in staff meeting if you can, because we want everybody to hear this right? But make sure that you’re pointing it out.
Spend time explaining why it’s so important. The more you point this stuff out, the more you reward people, the more people will continue to do the same thing. Leaders, business owners recognize this. The more you show them that you care about them being excellent, the more they’re going to care about your client, your external client, but they will also take care of your internal client. So this week, start pointing that out. Think team mentality.
Hey, if we continue to do this, we continue to take care of each other as well. So point out when people are taking care of the internal client, when they do that, point it out, show what it’s like to take care of the people that they work with on a daily basis. Another thing is put a process in place so team members can point out excellence in each other. Let your team brag on each other, you know, make sure that you’re continuing to share this message by allowing team members to speak up, so and so did this.
You know, I saw when Bailey did this, taking care of a client during one of the next level mastermind retreats, whatever that is, allow them the opportunity to speak up because then not only is the person seeing it, pointing it out, but other people are recognizing it, not just the leadership that sees that I’m being excellent. It’s the whole team is recognizing it now and what do we want to do? We want to do more of that. When we see that, when people care and it makes sense to them that you know we’re being excellent and they care about that, then we want to be more excellent.
How to stop a lack of excellence in its tracks
I’m also point out a lack of excellence. Now we’re not talking about calling out individuals specifically at your meetings. I would not do that. I would do that in one on one meetings. Now, you know, there are certain times you can, as long as you’re, you know, you have to be very, very, very, very careful with that, because it can actually cause a loss of morale.
Our meetings are so straightforward where we’re really focused here on not losing worth in making mistakes that team members will call out their own stuff. Hey guys, I screwed this up. I did this over here. Here’s what I’ve done to fix it. Here’s what I’ve done to make sure it’s in the checklist. You know, this shouldn’t happen again. So we have that as a culture, which is great. I do not suggest that you call out individuals in your specific meetings. You can call out a lack of excellence as a cultural concept. Hey, you know, again, like I use, I like to use experiences that I have when I go places. It’s not to sit there and dog a hotel. It’s not to sit there and dog one specific team member at a hotel or one Barista. It’s to say, here’s what I experienced.
We don’t do that. Here’s why. How would you guys feel if you showed up at this place and experienced that, how do you think our clients would feel if they walked in that door and they experienced that? So guys, we don’t do this, so use examples and point that out, but also if there’s something that’s going on inside of the business, feel free. You know, you may have to point that out just without pointing out specific people if at all possible. So what am I trying to say here?
Excellence can’t be demanded, but it can be created
Excellence can’t be demanded, but it can be created. You can try and demand it all you want, but if people don’t know how to be excellent, it doesn’t matter. Show them, teach them, reward them, call it out when they’re not being excellent. Teach, teach, teach, teach, teach. That’s your job leader. Teach.
That’s your job. Parent. Teach excellence. Hold them accountable. Don’t allow them to be victims. You know, call it out when you need to call it out, but if you will, teach excellence, if you will model excellence, then you will find that people will choose to be excellent. You can try and demand it all you want, just not going to work. If you focus on creating excellence, if you focus on it being a part of your culture, and again you’ve heard me say it, culture is actions and attitudes.
That’s what it comes down to. If you will train it, teach it, reward it, call it out, repeat it, model it, then you will have a culture of excellence. When you create excellence in your culture, when you focus on what it takes to teach people, train people, and be an example, your team will be excellent.
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