Reach for Perfection (third of a five part series)
One of the things I have learned in life is that every time I am close to perfection, the definition of what perfection is moves (usually higher). Looking at business, people, education, I see a similar trend. For example, the definition of quality for consumer goods has continued to evolve over the past decades. For proof, just look at the photo, every one of those phones were “perfect” when they were introduced.
In America, one of the things we do right is never being satisfied with status quo – innovation is a creative avenue that is “reaching for perfection”. America is built on continuous improvement; reaching for perfection.
When we look specifically at how we serve our customers, “reach for perfection” is one of the key foundational mindsets we must embrace. Reach is the active verb that paints a picture of stretching out your hand to grasp something just past you. If I stretch a little more, if I expend a little more energy, if I find a ladder and climb up a little higher – I can get hold of it. We fail our customer more times than not because we are not putting in the energy (the reach) needed to get just that much closer to perfection.
Is it that simple? Isn’t there reasons why we fail at perfection? Manufacturing is complex. Lots of disruption, lots of unknowns, lots of excuses. Yes, we fail at perfection – the world is not a utopia. As long as there are people, there will be failure. BUT STOP! That is not the right mind-path to go. Reaching for perfection is really quite simple – actively, constantly strive for better.
Start owning your issues – reach. Start asking yourself how I can adapt – reach. Start working at improving what you have – reach.
Try these few “hows”…
- Every day find one, just one, thing to make better. In manufacturing there are dozens of tools at your fingertips that drive continuous improvement. What are you using to reach for perfection? You may not complete something daily, but you will be reaching daily to obtain perfection.
- Stop blaming everyone else and start owning your own reach. Are YOU reassessing YOUR problems and doing YOUR OWN reaching. Or are you finding a hundred excuses why. Here is the test – do those looking into your world see you expending so much energy at reaching they want to jump in and help OR do they just think you have given up with no desire to get better?
- Don’t use the excuse that perfection is outside your reach to prevent you from doing better. Never stop learning and growing. Reaching is all about expanding beyond your current state.
- Evolution is an expectation of every person. I dare you to think of one product that has not improved in the last 3 years (Again look at the photo). What you except is at a higher level for product and services today than it was 2 years ago. At work, it is the same thing. What your customer expects is something better than last time. If you are hovering in the status quo, you need to jump start yourself and find a way to reach.
What are the opportunities within arm’s reach of you that will “stretch” and “grow” your definition of perfection? Your customers will be the better for it and so will you. Let me know what you think. I look forward to having a conversation with you. And if you happen to have a time machine, let me know, as there’s some Apple stock I need to pick up…