When I ask people to name organizations known for excellence and high performance, the usual suspects surface: the Navy SEALS, Apple, Disney, Starbucks and sometimes the New York Yankees or San Antonio Spurs. All of these have earned a reputation for excellence in their field.
What about closer to home? I was reminded recently excellence lurks in unsuspecting places. I call it everyday excellence. Far from the spotlight, out of reach of the media, and often underappreciated, excellence is all around us. Perhaps you know of a place, a team or an organization that quietly goes about their business of providing excellent products or services as a matter of routine. Today, I’ll share the story of one of those organizations.
I don’t do a lot of work with my hands; the truth is, I’m not real handy. Someone else cuts my grass and paints my house. I used to change my own oil until I forgot to put the plug back in and blissfully proceeded to drive away from my house with no oil remaining in my car! However, one of the things I have continued to do my entire life is wash my own car. Unfortunately, since we’re in transition now, the apartment doesn’t have a place for me to do this. So, I was looking for help.
The first person I asked for a recommendation told me about Ws Hand Car Wash. It wasn’t far from the apartment so Saturday morning I went to look for them. Upon arrival, I found a line of about 10 cars waiting to enter the single wash bay. I noticed what looked like 12 – 15 people working – literally swarming over the cars as they came out of the wash bay. It didn’t look like it would be a quick experience based on the line, but I decided to give it a try.
After waiting my turn, I pulled into the bay. Two or three guys began to soap down my vehicle. They washed and scrubbed and then repeated the process. Next, a team of five or six other young men began to work on my car – inside and out. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. I lost track of the time, fascinated with the work of these guys. When they finished, I realized they had been detailing the car for almost half an hour. They certainly raised the bar for me the next time I wash my own car.
I introduced myself to one of the young men. His name was Daniel. He seemed excited to meet me. I asked him how much I owed him… He said $20. I was flabbergasted. I gave Daniel and his colleagues one of the biggest tips I’ve ever given anyone.
As I prepared to leave, I asked Daniel if I could take his picture. He looked around and said “If you can wait a few minutes - I have customers to serve.” Wow!
I left Ws inspired and challenged as a leader. How about you? When you encounter excellence, what effect does it have on you? Excellence makes me want to lead at a higher level.
If you need a good car wash in Atlanta, or just want to be inspired, you should look up Ws. Daniel told me they just opened their fifth location. I guess there’s an ever-expanding market for everyday excellence.[GLS_Shield]