Same time. Every time!” Those were the words the banquet director said to us over 20 years ago. At the time, I was a banquet server, and my job was to serve large galas and other special events.
One day, we were setting up the ballroom for an exclusive dinner. The type where every guest was served at EXACTLY the same time.
We had to practice. Each of us took our places next to our assigned guest. Then, we’d wait for the banquet director to give a slight head nod. ONLY then, would we simultaneously put the plates in front of the guests.
The 1st time, the sound was click-clack-click-clack. The plates landed at different times. The sound should’ve been a soft “click”. So we tried again. And again, and again.
With each failed attempt, the director looked at us and said, “Do it again. The plates MUST be served at the same time, every time!”
After 1 hour, we finally got it…once. The director looked at us and said, “Doing it correctly one time doesn’t count. That could’ve been a fluke. Do it three times in a row without mistakes.” 45 minutes later, we finally did it!
The moral of the story is…when you’re focused on excellence, “good” is not good enough. As you develop a taste for doing things REALLY well, mediocrity is no longer palatable.
If anyone is going to do a shortcut, it won’t be me. I refuse to do my job half-way. Not today. There are all kinds of ways for things to go wrong. Let them be accidents. I will not allow myself to intentionally do less than I am capable of doing.