What is a standard?
A picture of what should be happening.
Why are standards important?
Because they make problems visible, so we can fix them. And because a clear picture of Okay/Not Okay, or of right and wrong, allow us to relax and focus on the task at hand.
Standards free us up and enable creativity.
This is true in every industry from design to manufacturing, to business services, and to health care. And it’s also true with respect to personal behavior.
A recent coaching engagement reinforced these fundamentals truths once again.
The organization is faith-based and tries to live the Great Virtues that inform every great religion. These include Prudence, Temperance, Justice, Courage, Faith, Hope and Charity. (A ‘virtue’ is a standard, no?)
Working with these fine people is enjoyable and motivating. Their fundamental goodness and humility allow you to relax and focus on the work.
Their mission, a genuinely ‘Noble Goal’, motivates you to do your very best. It’s no surprise the organization has been around for a long time.
Young, immature organizations and industries often lack bedrock standards. Unscrupulous leaders think they can ‘get away with stuff’. To often, they mistreat their employees, suppliers and customers.
Those that survive come to realize the centrality of Ethics. People won’t follow swine, at least not for long.
You can see this process being played out in the newer industries of our day – software design, social media, telecommunications, contract electronics and the like.
The best companies in each industry are beginning to discover Ethics and beginning to lay a foundation for long-term success.
I can imagine my above coaching partners asking, “What took you so long?”