The great philosopher Aristotle was reported to have said, “”We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” There is a plethora of dictionary definitions of the word but what does it really mean to us in funeral service and adjunct professions? Further, how can we create an environment and culture of excellence in our various workplaces?

First, defining excellence means keeping the big picture in mind, even though funeral service is about fierce attention to detail. As I heard one person say, “A funeral director is like a wedding coordinator but with less than 72 hours to put everything together.” The amount of details that have to be tended to in order to properly serve a family and accomplish the celebration of their loved one’s life is staggering. Thus it can become easy to get stuck in the “how” and forget the “why”. While you are tending to the details though take a moment to remind yourself of why you are doing what you do. Keeping sight of our mission, values and core principles will be the compass that guides us in the right direction.

Second, defining excellence means communicating expectations. It should be no surprise that people can only excel when they are aware of what is expected of them. Often times, owners and managers assume that their employees should know what they need to do. That is never a safe assumption. Be clear about what you want and when you want it. Leave no stone unturned when it comes to clearly defining objectives. Once you have done so, accountability is easier to measure and accomplish. Clear communication coupled with accountability closes the loop on repetitive mistakes and raises the standard to a whole new level.

Third, defining excellence means continual training. In this information age, new ideas come to us at lighting speed and it is often overwhelming to process all of it. But make no mistake, it is necessary. Staying informed will keep you on the cutting edge and will continually challenge you to aim higher. If that is true for you, isn’t it true for managers and employee’s? The answer is a resounding yes! Taking the time to train people in our organizations will cement teamwork along with giving them new tools and techniques to do what they do even better! Businesses do not spend money on training, they invest it in training. pemakaman muslim

Fourth, defining excellence means incentivizing and appreciating staff. When I get to this strategy in seminars there is usually one boss or manager in the audience that will sarcastically retort, “I show them I appreciate them every time I give them a paycheck!” Normally I respond by saying, “You’re right. But would you rather be right or look for a new employee?” Touché. Research has show that it can cost as much as 10 times more to hire and train a new employee than it does to retain and reward the ones we have. Putting an employee incentive program in place will not only increase morale but also motivate everyone to achieve more and better results.

Defining excellence should not just be a convention theme or editorial focus, rather it should be one of our core values that we strive for everyday in our businesses and organizations. It has well been said that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” Taking these steps will help put you on the road to defining excellence in your businesses and your life.


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