Family Talk: Becoming a person of excellence
When I was young and working on a project with my father, I often would become impatient with his attention to detail. Even parts of the project that nobody would see had to be done right. This took too much time for me. Exasperated, I once blurted out, “Dad, why do you do that? No one will ever know!” To which my father calmly replied, “Because I’ll know.”
Dad was teaching me to be a person of excellence. To pay attention to detail. To do your work better than expected. In all things, big and small, to perform with excellence.
I wish I saw more of that.
My wife recently was in the hospital, and although she received good care, they didn’t perform with excellence. When she reached her room after surgery, they did not ensure she had water to drink or the call button within reach. While she was still under the effects of anesthesia, and I was standing next to her bed, they asked whether she was experiencing domestic violence in our home. And when she was discharged, they forgot to remove the ECG electrodes from her body and the air compression wraps from her legs. They failed the excellence test.
The next day, I went to a local sandwich shop. It was not busy. I ordered a sandwich, a large glass of tea and a cookie. They took my order but failed to give me a cup for the tea. When my order came, they neglected to give me the cookie. They failed the excellence test.
Oh, my wife was generally treated with care. And I enjoyed my sandwich, tea and cookie. Both the hospital and the sandwich shop got the basics right. But they didn’t pass the Ted Priest excellence test.
Being a person of excellence takes a little extra time and thought. But that’s the kind of service we want from others. And it’s the kind of people we should be. It’s the kind of children we should raise.
Jim Priest is CEO of Sunbeam Family Services and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.