Make Normal More Excellent

May 27, 2014 5 Comments

I had the honor of speaking at the Big Ideas Lecture series sponsored by Colliers International, The University of Nevada, and The Nevada Museum of Art. I spoke about excellence, and in 45 minutes tried to weave together the most important points I make when I speak about leadership and social business. The video above is a short clip where I discuss the challenge of making normal more excellent.

Just before this point in my presentation, I had discussed how the social business environment makes operational excellence a strategic imperative. The reputation your business earns for how it treats customers, employees, and suppliers travels faster and farther than ever before. If you are good at what you do, there have never been better times to be in business. But if you suck, you will be found out and the record of your repeated pattern of mediocrity or failure will live as an archived and shareable piece of content (e.g. blog, tweet, picture, Yelp! review) on the World Wide Web

make normal more excellentFor you and your business to become a signal in an ocean of noise, you have to give yourself permission to do things others are not willing to do. Excellence is a form of deviance  that creates a pattern of courageous choices over time. When you watch the video, you will see me discuss how I believe we can make normal more excellent by choosing to do things differently than how we have done them in the past and how others are doing things today.

After you watch the video, please share your thoughts in the comment section below! BIG thanks to Tyler Bourns for making a video of very high quality in a low light setting.

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Comments (5)

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  1. mark estee says:

    smart and insightful as always! great snippet of what i am sure was an eye opening look a how we can all do what we do BETTER!


    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Thanks, Mark. You make excellent more excellent every day! Bret


  2. Jeff Hamer says:

    I have been lurking on your blog for a while. I just wanted to say this was a great video clip. It really drove the point home about what to do with the “normal” distribution of performance. Sadly, I slipped into the typical response of lopping off the lower end. I was able to figure out, on my own, a “new” group of lower end folks would crop up. But I was stuck after that. Your message about moving the normal distribution was very insightful and I took a lot from that.

    I am ten minutes into the longer (45 mins) clip from the same lecture and it is well worth everyone’s time.



    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Jeff. Bret


  3. Beth says:

    Wonderful point about how all performance is system-driven. As a designer of corporate training programs, I’m often asked to put a training band-aid on problems that don’t need a training solution. People sometimes need more knowledge or skill development, but not always. Poor tools, processes, or culture are often the drivers of poor performance. Making excellent more normal means having the wisdom to accept that things may need to change before people can change.


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