This past week, I had the great pleasure of attending the LPGA Mobile Bay Classic to watch a player compete. She had a great week and is on the verge of some transformational play through the summer. It is always interesting for me to go to professional events and learn from the best players in the world, to pick up their preparation keys and competition commitment. I probably learn more than they do from me and that is a great scenario for all involved.
On the way down to Mobile, I stopped at a Burger King to grab a drink for the second half of my drive. As I drove up, I was impressed by the brand new building, the cleanliness, and the overall imagery. Gone was the dated Burger King branding and it was replaced by the presence of a grill environment with fire marks, heavy woods, and fresh high technology display menus. I was very impressed as over the past year, I have become very aware of how branding sets the stage for behavior and opinions due to my collaboration with a great branding agency – Telegraph Branding.
From my conversations with Kevin and Isaiah in my business, I am always thinking about the ways that the message, the presence, and the imagery work to lay the foundation of The MindSide. As a result, I find myself paying attention to the little things that companies do to communicate with their customers. It is about presenting a culture, a foundation, that customers, the public, and contributors know the minute that they get out of the car. My expertise is behavior and organizational change and theirs is about setting the stage and branding. It is a great business relationship that you will hear more about later, but work together with seamless execution.
The reason that I bring up this example at Burger King was that despite all of the branding and imagery that was invested in, it took one representative to destroy it. Business leaders invest millions on the imagery and the actions of one person can literally change my impression in an instant. As I walked up to the counter, I was the only one waiting to order. Behind the counter, there was one representative that was working on the register and she was holding a paper food boat full of fried food that I honestly did not recognize or could find on the menu. It peaked my interest because I could not identify it. She did not acknowledge me, even though we stood five feet apart, or that I was standing ready to order, or that she worked there and stood at the position to take my order. She played around on the register for three or four minutes and never acknowledged me as she took a bite of her “mystery” fried food. I thought I was on Candid Camera!
Eventually, someone in the back yelled something to her and her response was – “Not me, I am on break.” All I wanted was a cup for the self-service dispenser. After another minute or two, someone from the dining room came behind the counter and took my order. There was no apology, correction, or explanation, simply a “whatcha having?”
Excellence is about a commitment to it, a striving for it, and the actions to make it happen. Excellence is not a result that you catch in a bottle or happen upon. It is earned. It has to be worked for every single day, in every instance, in every exposure to be successful. It is about being excellent in the branding to capture the message and excellent in the delivery of those that live the message every day.
Regardless of your sport or if you are a boardroom athlete, excellence begins with you. I watch so many athletes committing to excellence in the easy things, and hoping the rest follows. It does not work that way. Success is about total commitment to each facet to make you great. The reason that I work closely with Telegraph Branding is that they get that.
Every organization, team, and athlete that has reached the pinnacle of success has a system in place to be their formula for success. They do not take workouts off, blow off meetings, or mail it in. Those that are truly great are excellent in every aspect of what they do, whether a coach sees it, a customer sees it, or a manager sees it. Their excellence is their culture and they know that if they invest in their excellence, it is reflected in their brand. In fact, excellence becomes their brand.
Think about how my experience would have been different had I stopped at a Chik-Fil-A. I am always impressed with their staff and branding. Both represent excellence in every facet of what they do. The lobbies are always spotless, they appreciate the flow of traffic and work to make it better, and the servers go out of their way to make sure that my visit is great. It is the perfect pairing of a culture of excellence reflected in their brand, their marketing, and their people.
Everyday you represent your brand. You represent your family and your team, including your coaches, trainers, and support staff. Ask yourself if you are fully committing to the excellence that they invest in you and are you reflecting that investment in your actions and presence?
Life is filled with decisions of every second of every day. It is your choice how you represent your brand and your excellence. Anything short of a commitment to excellence is mediocrity. The results may not go in your favor, but if you commit to be the best that you can possibly be, your development will continue to grow to new levels.
Excellence is not a new topic. As you finish reading this blog, think about this quote from Aristotle, who lived from 384-322BC. I think he gets it and you can too when you commit to your own excellence.
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act but a habit.”
See you next week!