Episode 8: Understanding and Practicing Excellence in the Workplace

Michelle:

Thank you for joining Episode 8 of your Reboot Program. This is Michelle Perez Patel from SatisFIND. We designed short learning episodes to help frontliners prepare for the day we open our doors to customers again. In this episode, Gabe Baradi will help us understand what it means to strive for Excellence in our work and why this is key in our survival in a post-lockdown world. 

The world is changing fast because of this pandemic. People are forced to consider what are essential from non-essential when there is uncertainty. When we reopen our stores again, customers will come back  but we will be faced with customers who will be more discerning in their spending. Not only will they look for the best value for their money but they will need better service from you and expect that you will deliver an overall customer experience that makes them feel valued for continuing to support you. Customer relationships in a post-quarantine world have to be a two-way relationship as they should be, they cannot be transactional anymore. Covid-19 has made us value human connections again and this is going to make our service better than ever when we open our doors to customers again.  

Businesses will also focus on what they need to survive. They will seek to limit expenses and maximize income. They would need their customers to choose their products and services over many other brands and providers. As employers, businesses will have to prioritize keeping or hiring employees with the attitude and skills that can help the business thrive in the new world. It is never an easy decision to let go of people, but this is the reality that was brought to us by the pandemic.

To be the top choice of your customers and employer, you need to be excellent at what you do. Excellence is being outstanding or really good at something. Excellence is what will make your customers buy from you and remember you. Excellence through your performance is what will make your employer keep you on the team. 

The good news is that no one is born with excellence. It is cultivated and developed as a person learns and grows. Having a growth mindset helps you become excellent, because you are constantly improving yourself, and this consistency leads to excellence.

Here are 6 ways we can practice excellence at work:

  1. Understand your company’s vision, values and goals, and align your actions. Company fit is a key factor in hiring and retaining talent. You may be excellent at what you do, but if your values are not aligned with the company’s, there will be friction and neither party will be happy from the relationship. Ask yourself too, do you really want a job in the service industry? If your answer is yes, the skills can be learned but you must have the desire for learning. Being excellent means exceeding what is expected of you. Your job description lists down the basic measure of what is expected of your position. Being excellent means performing these tasks as expected, and then going beyond. The more you know about your job and how you can contribute to the company’s goals and vision, the more you can exceed the targets set for you. When you show that you can perform your job well, you open yourself up to more opportunities and grow within the company.

    The attitude that will not survive the pandemic is the one where the worker says, “this work is not in my job description”. If you are fortunate enough to keep your work or find other work soon, going beyond your job description is what will show your employer that you are the right person for the job. 
     
  2. Constantly seek improvement in yourself and in how you work. Learning new skills and improving your existing skills help you become outstanding at what you do. This quarantine gives you the chance to look into what you need to improve on and increase the value you can bring to the team. If everyone in the team has this mindset, the business will recover faster.
     
  3. Communicate with your team, leaders, and customers. Excellence means continuous improvement. Striving for excellence does not end, it is a mindset, and to do this, you need to get regular feedback from people about how you are doing. With your growth mindset, you will see that feedback is an opportunity to learn about your strengths, what you need to improve on, and how else can you add value to the team.
     
  4. Be proactive. We talked about excellence as “going beyond”, and this means you cannot wait for things to happen to you before you react. Excellence demands action and it must be proactive action. At work, look for tasks that you can do before someone tells you that it needs to be done. Approach your customers as they enter the store. Don’t wait for them to be the one to approach you and ask you questions. Start by welcoming them and making their experience a positive one that they will not forget. Remember, service is given, not asked for. Proactiveness is an essential value in service that can easily be measured, felt and observed. You can easily identify someone who is proactive and someone who is reactive. We will talk more about this in the future episodes. 
     
  5. Have the flexibility to adapt. Learn what the customer needs and look for solutions. While you may have to stick to approved spiels for certain situations, those spiels may not apply for all. Ask your customer what they need and come up with a solution that works for them and is within what you can deliver. Remember, you are the expert in the store between you and the customer, take ownership of finding solutions for what the customer needs. Discuss this with your manager after, to get feedback on how to improve how you deal with this situation. Every customer problem is a learning opportunity if we want to be excellent at what we do. Problems are often the best teachers if we approach them with humility. 
     
  6. Have fun and be passionate. Your growth mindset allows you to find the positives in your everyday work. Look for those little things that make you happy. Celebrate when a colleague does well and give them compliments. Pat yourself on the back when you do something right and when people notice, sincerely thank them. Be grateful for these daily experiences that add to your enjoyment and fulfillment from the work that you do. 

When you find happiness in what you do, you will find what you are passionate about. Cultivate these passions to make work go beyond something you feel forced to do, into something you look forward to doing. People notice when you are passionate about something, let this passion inspire others to aim for excellence too.  See you in our next episode.  

Michelle: 

We would like to end this episode with a few questions to help you practice what Gabe shared with us: 

  • How do you feel about receiving feedback? Do you fear it? Does it make you feel nervous whenever someone at work or a customer is giving feedback? Not being open to feedback prevents you from understanding how else you can be better at what you do, which is a blocker for excellence. To work on this fear, you need to face it by asking your team leader for feedback on how you can be better at work as you prepare to go back to regular operations. Use this time to communicate with your leaders. They will appreciate hearing this from you. This is a mark of being proactive. 
  • Before the quarantine, which parts of your work can you still work on being more proactive? Is it with your customers or with your teammates? Identify behaviors that make you reactive, instead of being proactive. To understand the difference is the beginning of your understanding.
  • Take a moment and visualize the best version of yourself. It’s you achieving your goals in life, you are successful and happy. To become that person, what skills do you need to learn now? It’s important to have the self-awareness on what you need to learn so you can work towards it. Now is the time to take ownership over your own continuous learning. Knowledge is no longer spoon-fed like when we were in school. There are so many resources available for free if you really want to be better at what you do. If you have reached this episode in your Reboot Program, congratulations, you have made the decision to use this time to upskill yourself. 

The post-lockdown world will say good bye to old habits and old mindsets. Yes, it will be a more competitive world but at the same time, there are many opportunities waiting for those who are willing to adapt and learn to be better. Excellence is going to be asked of us in this new world. Excellence is no longer an option, we need to embrace it to survive. 

If you have questions about today’s episode, we would love to hear from you. Please click the link for the Reboot Journal and share your thoughts or questions with us. We will answer them in the future episodes. Thank you for joining.