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Part Two: Achieving High Quality Delivery in Organisations

  Mar 22, 2013

By Roy Were

The need for patience in the pursuit of greatness and success is closely linked to the idea of the essential need of sacrifice. Sunny used the example of Walmart to demonstrate how greatness takes time. With over two million employees worldwide and touted as the world’s third largest corporation as well as the largest retailer in the world, Walmart’s emergence and dominance was patiently built by

Sam Walton from 1945 with a single super store that has grown over the years to be in 8,970 locations by 2011 and reported revenues of USD 447 billion in 2012. This example showed how Sam Walton grew from having a single store in 1945 to opening the second one seven years later, to having 40+ stores in the 1970s, to having 1, 528 stores by 1990, which were estimated to be 6,800 by 2008.

The story demonstrated patience towards achieving the greatness that is manifested in Walmart, which also maintained dominance as the world’s largest private employer at the time. This patience in pursuing greatness is nevertheless counterbalanced by a certain demand on oneself and on others to pursue greatness every day and at each moment without settling for mediocrity.

The example of Sam Waltorn and the Walmart stores also connected well with the quote Sunny shared from Ken Blanchard and Norman Vincent Peale who said, ‘Nice people may appear to finish last, but they are running in a different race.’ Faithful adherence to the strategy to inform daily actions and choices in the organisation may at times manifest an apparent dullness or lack of expected activity but this nevertheless bears fruit in due time.

There is consistency that champions do which often go unnoticed but contribute towards their greatness. Joe Frazier, who was recognised among the ten greatest heavyweight boxers of all time, was once asked by a reporter before a match whether the champion in him was going to be made in the ring he was about to enter. Joe responded by saying, ‘Champions are not made in the ring. They are recognised there.’ Joe Frazier explained that the champion was made in his daily commitment to the grind and practice, the grueling exercise routines and reps day in and day out. This implies that much of what accounts for greatness will be what each one will perform that is seemingly humdrum and unspectacular but contributes to the greatness that is recognised later.

Sunny then delivered a slide that answered the question ‘How will we beat the world?’ The how is achieved in the following ways:

  • By building uniqueness
  • By continuously improving our product
  • By reminding ourselves of our goal
  • By setting high standards
  • By building personal excellence
  • Each one of these suggestions is indeed a gem of wisdom to ruminate over and to digest, with tons of wisdom and insight behind it. In a manner this resonates with a question that Sunny proposed for each one to examine himself at the end of each day and ask, ‘Have I operated at world-class levels today?’

    The different efforts that staff members put in at their respective designations resonate and complement one another much better when carried out with consistency and constancy. Benjamin Disraeli, a former British Prime Minister, said that the secret of success is constancy of purpose. In spite of all the efforts that different team members may be putting in an organisation they would still need to continually see the link between what they are doing and the overarching mission of the organisation.

    This then brings us back to the initial sentences of Sunny’s presentation: do we understand the overall strategy, the mission, and the vision of the organisation? Is it simple enough in our minds to comprehend and to see the connection to what we do in the organisation on a day-to-day basis? If not, what can we do about? The journey begins with you and me.

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