Every person. Every day. Every Time.

Are we delivering excellence? A profoundly simple question I put to my team this week on our first day back after a fantastic Christmas break. Giving it some consideration, a variety of answers came back ranging from 'yes totally' to others who felt 'we could do better'. I tend to agree with the latter.

But first, let me explain how this bout of philosophical navel gazing cropped up. As we neared the end of another hectic term last November I found myself looking for some nugget of motivation that would slingshot me through the hectic Christmas period ahead and into 2011. It came in the form of a rather innocuous question in my annual and first ever - appraisal at that time; “Are you delivering excellence?” Hmm, I would have to think about this carefully because truthfully I knew there was room for improvement.

A few days later in a very unkempt changing room I suddenly had an epiphany about this excellence I was meant to be delivering which has since given me enough motivation for months to come - enough to start this blog even! You see, while I had been thinking about the big showy VIP things that we tend to focus on most of the time, I was overlooking the everyday mundane tasks (such as keeping this changing room tidy) that also require excellence from every member of my team.

With this newfound perspective, I put it to them; how does our Kitchen Porter deliver excellence? How can HE deliver excellence when he doesn't cook fabulous food for a living? (Or even mediocre food for that matter). Nor does he serve Champagne to our guests with panache. After all that's not his job. His lot is to mop the floor, wash the pots, throw out the trash and keep smiling throughout. I guess in his case the more fundamental question is 'how can WE help him to deliver excellence?'

Picture yourself, I continued, standing in the changing room with the state it is in most of the time and consider the question again. Would a visitor, senior manager or contractor using the facility think so?

From this point of view, they all agreed we had some way to go. But in doing so, we had just taken our first steps towards this elusive state we seek out. Because in admitting to our deficiency in such a key component of Hospitality, we had taken our first small step towards delivering that excellence. Every person. Every day. Every Time.

My new mantra for 2011, and I have promised to bore my team silly with it, is for each of us to ask of ourselves 'Are we delivering excellence?' Because if we do so in the banal tasks, the big showy VIP ones will take care of themselves.

Look around at the area within arms reach of you. Are you delivering excellence in how it looks?...

Start there.