The Power of “AND”

Sustained excellence is based on a few principles well applied. As is my habit, I do a lot of reading and studying of business related books and articles. I find it to be thrilling when I discover that respected authors’ profound thoughts align with each other and with the practices of Pal’s Sudden Service (Pal’s). It is great seeing the synergy of multiple authors stressing the same underlying concept. In many cases, they each independently came to the same conclusion. It is always fantastic to find those key principles that underpin excellence. We then make sure we are stressing these points in McClaskey Excellence Institute classes like our “Achieving World-Class Results” class.  In particular, we show how Pal’s embraces and implements those principles to create sustained excellence.  

One such underlying principle of sustained excellence is the concept of “and.”  This is a central part of both Pal’s’ management system as well as found at the core of one of Stephen Covey’s seven habits of highly effective people. If you have not read “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey, a mega best-selling book, you will thank me later for strongly suggesting that you do.

The concept of “and” as I would define it is: two or more things must happen during the same transaction, all with great quality.  No tradeoffs. What I have found is that excellence is always a matter of “and” and not “or.”

For example: one of the key factors for Pal’s being ten times more accurate than its global brand competitors is that no product can be passed to the next step unless it meets all of the standards/requirements. If any of the requirements are unmet, the product is either fixed to the 100% level of all of the standards/requirements or it is discarded. Notice how “and” is at the core of this key principle that Pal’s employees follow without exception. “And” is integrated into everything Pal’s does. For example, Pal’s has the highest accuracy AND the highest speed AND is the benchmark in hospitality. This is how Pal’s maintains a competitive advantage. “Or” thinking will merely get you average results. An example of “or” type of thinking is do you want your order fast or friendly; fast or accurate, etc.

We see this same principle at the heart of one of Covey’s seven habits. In his book: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey lists the fourth habit as, “Think Win-Win.”  The basic idea behind this concept is that people should strive for solutions where, “I win AND you win.” Notice the very essence of this habit is the word “and.” Highly effective people find a way for themselves/their organization to win and for the other person/organization to win as well.

Personally, Win – Win is a core value of mine; I naturally think and strategize in that way. This principle was strongly reinforced and became a core value for me in 1989 when I first read Covey’s book. Since then, I have always attempted to find a way so both I can win, and the other person can win in every decision I make. Very few cases have arisen over the years where I have been unable to work out a win-win solution in response to the decision at hand.

Some thought/study questions on the concept of “and”:

  1. Does your organization have a practice of only passing on to the customer products that meet 100% of all required requirements/specifications?
  2. What is your personal philosophy related to winning? Are you okay if you win and the other person loses? Do you feel it’s either I win or they win, but not both? Are you willing to strive to create win-win agreements going forward?

At McClaskey Excellence Institute, we teach leaders/managers — from every type of business — concepts to enable them to take their next step, from ordinary to extraordinary. Come join us and learn how you can apply “and” as well as other underlying principles and concepts to create sustainable excellence.