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“Total quality begins with total personal quality. Organisational empowerment begins with personal empowerment.” Stephen R Covey

Isn’t it odd? I’m sure that, like me, many of my readers have undergone training courses or courses of instruction in their professional and personal lives. Someone had taken the time to put together the information you needed; perhaps they had developed activation exercises to reinforce the input they had provided; and they had organised and developed said course in a way that led you from ‘haven’t a clue’ to ‘level of competence’.

Then you went back to ‘life’ and immediately started dropping the standards that had been made known to you. Life got in the way so instead of applying the new, professional levels of quality that you had been told about, you cut corners, saved time – or accepted the societal norm that applied and dropped to that level. In his programmes Anthony Robbins told about the US Marines dropping their high standards when they left the Corps, because ‘they adopt the standards of their new peer group’, and we all have a tendency to do that.

I notice it most as an enthusiastic driver; how teenage and twenty-somethings, newly permitted to drive having learned the rudiments of the skill, start

  • Raking their seat back while leaning forward;
  • Driving with one hand in the ‘cool’ position at the top of the steering wheel;
  • Deciding that indicating is not necessary; and that
  • Loud bass beats are.

The really funny thing about it is that what they learned to pass their test was the minimum standard expected – and they manage to go even lower than that. Then wonder how they ended up upside down in a ditch with their lovely car all battered.

That’s an example with which we are all familiar. But would I be even close to right when I suggest that we all do that, more than some of the time? I won’t waste time with specific examples, and to be frank I haven’t the time.

But since you know we do it, and you know that you can do better, why not start now?

Everything you do from now on, professionally and privately, do to the highest standard possible in the time available. (I use that caveat because life sometimes does interfere, but you have ake an honest assessment – is the interference there, or just a convenient handle upon which to hang procrastination?)

See what happens. See if the results you get are better for having tried just that little bit harder to live at the level of competence that you expect of others when they are serving YOU.

Because that’s the other funny thing.

When we drive badly as a matter of routine, we still expect everyone else to follow the rules, don’t we?


Steering grip of Lewis  Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, pursuit trained cops, Kyle Busch.


Steering grip of bone idle lazy wazzocks who have gone to sleep and are endangering us.

Which do you use?