A colleague has this quote as a tag line and it has made me think.

When my daughter was young we used to argue about table manners. “But I know how to behave when I have to,” she’d say. And I would undoubtedly reply that practice makes perfect and it would be nice for her family to see nice manners. It would undoubtedly be better to have ‘good’ be the default.

It is easy to think that when the moment is right or the job REALLY important we will be able to rise to the need. Whether that is true is very questionable – sort of like understanding something through theory rather than experience.

The truth is repeated daily excellence is time-consuming and expensive. How do we pay for it? Do our customers really care (we have often been told not by low-enders in our industry). Do they care enough to go to the people who always aim for excellence over those that generally produce something inexpensive and perhaps good enough?

And the jobs that aren’t that special? Which ones are those? How do we decide which ones deserve our attention, our excellence? Do the ‘average’ orders not deserve the same level of excellence as the big ticket ones?

This all seems self-evident until you break down the economics of it. Regardless we have chosen the path of intentional excellence. We are betting our future that our customers DO care.