Thursday, October 26, 2006

Excellence

I attended a luncheon today where the corporate sponsor paying for lunch was also was the speaker for the session. Sadly, the content of the talk was pure fluff. The best description I can think of is that the speaker took their corporate brochure and converted the content to a 10-slide powerpoint presentation and called that a 'talk.'

Afterwards, my seatmate politely commented that she expected there to be more to the talk than what we saw, something I felt rather gratified to hear. Yet, I couldn't help but wonder how many of the other attendees felt the same way.

Lately, I seem to find myself in situations (like the one today) where I get the impression that the average client can sense the difference between quality consulting and mediocre consulting, but they don't care enough about the difference, and certainly aren't willing to pay for the difference.

After all, in these tough financial times, why pay P200 for a bottle of Perrier at a restaurant when they can also serve you regular tap water that's been filtered and chilled at no extra charge?

Do the extra care, attention, and thinking that we put into our consulting advice actually translate into a difference that the client will take into account when they choose a consulting services provider?

I am reminded of a recent conversation I had with a fellow choir member at church. We were talking about the many improvements that the choirs can still make (musically speaking), and how it would be great if we can actually make these changes. He shared with me his wife's reaction to this line of thinking. She asked, do you think the average church-goer can appreciate the difference between a professional choir and a volunteer church choir? And if they cannot, is it still worth it to invest so much time, energy, and emotions into pursuing choral excellence?

At what point are we making sub-optimal decisions by focusing so much on being 'perfect' that we automatically reject what is already 'good enough'?

And if we're so used to compromising and just delivering what's 'good enough,' how sure are we that we haven't already crossed the invisible line that separates 'good enough' from 'mediocre'?

I really wish I knew.

1 comments:

Ants said...

Interesting analysis of the current world record scrabble game:

http://www.slate.com/id/2152255/?GT1=8702

If the two players were aiming for excellence, rather than the greedy joy of dumping all their letters at each go, they wouldn't have broken the record. Hmmm.