This past month I've been getting estimates to do some work on our home. It's been an interesting experience. We contacted several contractors and scheduled appointments to come out and give us estimates. Two of them never showed up! My wife and I initiated contact. We agreed upon a common date and time with the service providers. They didn’t show up.
Not even a phone call.
When I called to see if they were coming (giving them the benefit of the doubt) one apologetically rescheduled and the other never called back. That was NOT an excellent experience. Quite the opposite!
Contrast that with an experience we had with a pediatric dentist recently. Our son had to have some dental work done. It took about 90 minutes. No fun for the little guy, but he survived. That evening about 6:00, the phone rang - it was the dentist calling to check in on our son. He didn’t have to do that. We weren’t expecting it - yet that dentist showed up. That was an excellent experience.
Excellence is not about being perfect. Excellence is about showing up. Excellence is rooted in consistently doing small things well over time. Returning phone calls, meeting deadlines, or when you can’t meet an agreed upon deadline, following up to renegotiate a new one. That dentist's unsolicited and unexpected phone call made an ordinary experience an excellent one. Small things consistently done well over time.
I am a firm believer that we can embed excellence in our organizations and experiences by consistently doing small things well over time. Like the dentist, we can act with intentionality and do the small things like a 2 minute phone call and show a desire for excellence. Excellence occurs when we "show up" consistently, each day in our interactions with our clients, customers, service providers, employees, etc.