Behind a successful business there’s always a business leader with the ‘high standards habit’. What happens in your business every day reflects your clearly communicated expectations of quality: in attitude, processes and outcomes.
This may sound straightforward, but it isn’t. You can’t simply demand blanket perfection and be done with it. You need to be more subtle in your approach.
How to create a ‘high standards habit’
These three tips summarise my observations of successful business leaders. I suggest you follow them in order to create your own high standards habit.
Business leaders with the high standards habit know which aspects of daily activity have most impact in terms of their business goals.
To confirm your ideas or to inform your research on this, I suggest you ask your staff. They are closer to the action and may have valuable insights to share in terms of which of the tasks they do most affect the results of their work.
Once you’ve identified the areas that matter most, make sure you communicate the standards you expect at an appropriate time using appropriate channels and in appropriate language. The SMART approach is useful, that is, your expectations need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-oriented and Time-bound.
Make sure you are not the only one who can judge whether or not standards are met – this is an opportunity to empower your team and to give them ownership of their work.
As in, walk the talk. Top leaders model the integrity, work ethic, emotional intelligence and work standards they expect of others.
If it’s important to you that the phone is answered within 3 rings, then it’s up to you to answer your phone within 3 rings. Or if you expect team members to genuinely listen to each other and to clients, you’ll need to behave in the same way. Don’t expect the team to have higher standards than you do.
The next step in creating the high standards habit …
… is to observe what happens when you follow these tips. The benefits I’ve observed include client retention, visible differentiation from your competition and a tangible ‘wow’ factor that’s felt by your clients as well as your team.
To talk further about leadership habits and to understand how the high standards habit relates to business success, please give me a call.