Unreasonable. Non-negotiable. Unapologetic. They all basically mean the same thing: I refuse to accept anything other than what I expect. There may be areas in your life where you are willing to waver or bend your standards, but not THAT thing for which you are a snob about. I believe it is actually good to have, at least, one thing for which you refuse to compromise. Like a sturdy foundation for a house, it grounds you. Having non-negotiables remind you that you are willing to stand strong when needed. You are capable and strong.
Events & Green Tea
Two of the areas where I don’t ever compromise are my company’s live events…and hot tea.
For our events, I press my team to review every touchpoint and execute every detail to create memorable, educational and transformational experiences. From the personalized note cards…to the food & beverage preferences…to the action planning, I have one standard: Excellence. Non-negotiable.
I am also a big fan of hot tea. Specifically, green and white leaf teas. The water has to be between 160 degrees to 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on the tea, it must steep for 3-5 minutes. I even have a thermometer to gauge the water temperature. If it’s too hot, I drop a few ice cubes or put a splash of cold water into the cup to bring the temperature down. If the water is too hot, the tea can get burned. And, who wants to have a nice, steaming, therapeutic, anti-oxidant filled cup of burnt tea? Keep that nonsense away from me. I don’t want it near my lips. See, do you feel my snobbiness coming out? Non-negotiable.
When I worked in hotels, I was adamant that the guest should never have to be the one to speak first. I worked hard to model and encourag my team to greet, welcome, and be eager to serve. No guest should EVER have to interrupt employees in order to get their attention. Non-negotiable.
Being uncompromising is more than having a sign or memo or an email. It is personally demonstrating the standard, then celebrating when you see others exemplifying the standard, and finally refusing to accept anything other than the standard…consistently.
Setting the table
Back when I was a busboy, every night the restaurant maître d’ (manager) did something that showed what being uncompromising was really about.
I worked in a very luxurious, fine dining French restaurant. Each table was impeccably set with a 2-feet candle vase in the center. Before the dining room would open for dinner, the maître d’ would methodically walk through and carefully examine each table. If the table was set perfectly, he would light the candle on that table.
Conversely, if any table setting was even slightly off, he would disdainfully shake his head and continue walking (without lighting the candle). The message was clear: Set the table the correct way every time…or the candle will NOT be lit. Thus, no guests will be sat at that table. No excuses. Non-negotiable.
Your best employees yearn to work for someone who is uncompromising about the standards and values that matter most. So, go ahead. Be uncompromising and be unreasonable. When you are non-negotiable…when you stand for your standards…great success will consistently come your way.