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June 24, 2015
Maria Pesin

Perfectionists strive for impossible goals. Pursuers of excellence enjoy meeting high standards that are within reach.  Should we strive for excellence in our businesses?  Of course but with this caveat.  There is a saying that I totally agree with — ready, fire, aim!  Many entrepreneurs in their pursuit of excellence fail to pull the trigger when it comes to their businesses.  They are so busy refining their product it sometimes takes years before they actually bring it to market to sell.  At some point they have to say it is good enough and start selling.  They can then through the results of their sales learn how to improve their product.  This is an ongoing process.  You should never stop trying to make your product even better.
Perfectionists can be devastated by failure; pursuers of excellence learn from it. Kaizen is the practice of continuous improvement. Kaizen was originally introduced to the West by Masaaki Imai in his book Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success in 1986. Today Kaizen is recognized worldwide as an important pillar of an organization’s long-term competitive strategy.  In the pursuit of excellence the efforts should be on continuous improvement of your product and services.
Most times the changes can be subtle.  But, overtime continuous improvement will build on itself till the growth of your company is significant.  A historic example of this was the achievement of Sir Dave Brailsford, director of British cycling and a former team coach. In 2009 he delivered a plan to the British government that he could build their first-ever Tour de France winner in four years using a plan using “aggregate marginal gains”. He broke down the individual elements of a world-class cycling team and focused on improving each component piece by 1%, noting more, nothing less. It worked in only three years. In 2012 Sir Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France…and the gold at the London Olympics.
Pursuing excellence in your business should be part of your companies culture.  According to Arun Hariharanin, Author of Continuous Permanent Improvement-“a business, clearly, profitability and market-share are key measures of success. A culture of excellence is an important enabler to achieve financial results — in any event — to achieve them in a sustained way. A culture of excellence will ensure that the organization is proactive and does not miss any improvement opportunity. It can be said that financial results are the end and a culture of excellence is an important means of achieving this end — that’s how they work together”.

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Maria Pesin

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