Expectations of Excellence: The key to our 20+ years of success

 Commit to excellence, and ensure others know exactly what you expect. 

Commit to excellence, and ensure others know exactly what you expect. 

20 years. Wow. We are both proud and humbled, as we reach our 20th anniversary.  

Shanny and I founded Morningstar Communications on October 1, 1997, with a clear focus and vision:  

We help leaders clarify their message, connect with people who matter most, and change attitudes and behaviors.

Clarify, connect, change. It sounds simple, but it’s not.

We all live in a world that doesn't trust traditional sources. Every day, we are bombarded with thousands of messages. People no longer truly read (we tend to skim and scan).

Against this backdrop, we have helped hundreds of businesses and organizations strengthen and grow. The key is to embrace "Expectations of Excellence."

I have shared this construct with thousands of people over the years. Every employee and intern. Most of our clients. And lots of audiences who have heard me deliver this message through a keynote.

Using a computer analogy, Expectations of Excellence is the "operating system" of your business. The "programs" are the products and services you provide.

Building and Sustaining Excellence on Your Team

Expectations of Excellence provides clear and concise answers for all colleagues to know,
"What does it take to succeed and thrive here?" We recommend this five-part approach to building and sustaining a team of excellence:

  1. Hire excellent people.
  2. Empower them.
  3. Be there when they need help.
  4. Otherwise, stay out of their way.
  5. And sing their praises!

Customize the specifics for your organization, and communicate this clearly.

Four Keys to Excellence

We believe there are four key components of Expectations of Excellence, and they build upon each other:

  1. It all starts with Knowledge. What you really know. You must be smart, know your industry, business, and your clients' business. Obviously, if you're not smart, it’s hard to be excellent.
     
  2. The next step is Perspective. This is how well you "see" each situation and various viewpoints. Perspective helps you connect the dots all the way through to the conclusion. It enables you to identify and overcome barriers.
     
  3. Third is Personal Qualities. Who you really are. Creative. Persistent. Accountable. Ethical. These and many more traits make you an excellent person.
     
  4. Finally, in the end, it’s all about Interpersonal Relations. How well do you work with others? Do people want you on their team? Are you thankful? Realistic? Helpful? Are you the teammate others want in their foxhole during challenging times?

When combined, these Expectations of Excellence are the key to build and sustain outstanding culture.  That, in turn, allows you to build and strengthen personal relationships. 

We have many long-term client relationships. One person has hired us at four different places (that's a record!). We have so many friends, fans, alums, connections ... we are truly blessed to attain this milestone because we've connected with so many great people.

I'm often asked, "What is the key to building a successful consultancy?" I nod, knowingly, quietly lean-in and whisper, "surround yourself with smart and successful clients."  Some secret, eh?

This approach has worked for our first 20 years, and I'm certain it will continue to work well for us into the future.

With deep, heartfelt appreciation to so many who have given us their faith and trust. We will always focus on excellence, as we help our clients attain ever greater heights.

Thank you all. Onward ...

Bonus content: Read Eric’s blog post featuring 18 lessons learned from our first 18 years.