Excellence Is Part Of Your DNA!

One of the first things that I learned, as a manager, is that I was only as good or effective, as the people that I had working with me.

If you desire supervisor that care about people, then you must promote those who have demonstrated that people are important to them.


If you want leaders who have an eye for excellence and who can see the ‘ant in the corner of the room…as well as the elephant that is in the middle of the room,’ you must search for those who have demonstrated that ability in the job that they currently are holding.

So often we are impressed with rhetoric and empty platitudes that are uttered in a convincing manner.


Strong words and bluster and promises…are mistaken for words the are supported by demonstrated success and promises that the promiser is committed to fulfilling.

Two popular sayings are: ‘Wing It,’ and ‘Fake It Until You Make It.’

A successful organization must be dedicated to a Vision and have a clear…bullet point outline…as to the goals desired and the methodology to achieve those goals.


There is another saying, that seems obvious…but is not.  ‘You do not know what you do not know.’


When I began as the Superintendent of Building Services I set out a simple vision for the department.  ‘The customer is always right.’

Every action that we took as an organization was in service to that one, and one more sentence.

The second sentence was, ‘No one wants to hear why the cleaning person can not clean.’


Again, seemingly obvious…but not really.

I had inherited a primary housekeeping organization that had been following a skip cleaning program that was artificial and that was hated by the Building Services staff.

When I took the shackles off of the eager and professional housekeepers…miracles happened.


There is an entrepreneurial spirit in we humans…that is crying to be set free.

We, by and large, seek excellence and hunger to be a part of a successful enterprise that is dedicated to being the best!

As I wrote the Building Services Handbook, I said, that I wanted our custodial group to be like the old Hertz Rental Car Commercial.

In the commercial there was a man, who was wearing a suit and tie and hat…floating through the air until he was comfortably landed behind the steering wheel of a Hertz Rental Car.  The tagline for the famous rental car commercial was, ‘Hertz Puts You In the Driver’s Seat.’


I also mentioned an old McDonalds Restaurant Commercial that exclaimed, ‘We do It All For You.’

And finally I likened our department to the Cadillac of Custodial Services.

There is a spark in all of us…that is waiting to be ignited.


We are desperately seeking a leader who has the confidence in us… for us to achieve the potential that is hidden deep inside.

I have likened Southern Illinois University to a Sleeping Giant…that is waiting to be awakened and to then demonstrate the inherent excellence that is smoldering like hot coals in a pot belly stove…you can feel the heat…and the fire wants to dance!


For many years Mary Jane and I shopped at Famous Barr Department Store.  Famous Barr was headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri and was owned by the May Company.

For several Christmas Seasons we took Aaron and Jonathon to the magnificent Christmas display that they had on the seventh floor of their headquarters in St. Louis.  The Display was entitled, Christmas Bears Trimming the Tree.  The animated Bears and their Holiday shenanigans covered almost the entirety of the seventh floor.  When you entered the Tree Trimming Splendor…it was a full immersion experience.  Famous Barr…did things right…they were the epitome of excellence!

When I walked though Famous Barr in Carbondale, Illinois…every salesperson greeted me by name.

Both in St. Louis and Fairview Heights, Illinois and Carbondale, Illinois…the women were dressed in suits or dresses and the men were attired in suits, as well.

I have purchased items at Famous Barr…for more money than I could have purchased the same item somewhere else, cheaper.

When I was at Famous Barr…I felt like I was at home.


We know that we are members of this life but for a short time.

We want to make our mark…make a difference…be a part of something that is much larger than us…and is special.

In the wonderful holiday movie, It’s A Wonderful Life, Jimmy Stewart’s character, George Bailey, tells Donna Reed’s character, Mary, that if she wants the moon that he will lasso it and bring it down to Earth for her.

We all want to lasso the moon.  When a leader, unleashes and unshackles us and relies upon us to totally buy into the organization that we are, obviously, an integral part of,…then…miracles happen!




5 responses

  1. One of the great joys of my brother’s and my life was putting our hand on the special handprint window at Famous Barr to make the trains run or stop at Christmas time. Did you live in Fairview Heights? We are from Belleville. Small world.

    1. We live in Carbondale, but travel to Fairview Heights often. 😉

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