If you have time, read this excellent (long) article on the power of high standards, by David Maister.
Here’s a key quote, from his study of 5,500 people in 139 offices around the world.
Nine factors account for more than 50 percent of all profit differences:
- Client satisfaction is a top priority at our company.
- We have no room for those who put their personal agenda ahead of the interests of the clients or the office.
- Those who contribute the most to the overall success of the office are the most highly rewarded.
- Management gets the best work out of everybody in the office.
- Around here you are required, not just encouraged, to learn and develop new skills.
- We invest a significant amount of time in things that will pay off in the future.
- People within our office always treat others with respect.
- The quality of supervision on client projects is uniformly high.
- The quality of the professionals in our office is as high as can be expected.
The critical part here is not saying it, it’s doing it — actually having the standard and lovingly enforcing it.