Why “Excellence” is the Next Five Minutes

Is “excellence” a word that would describe everything you or your business does or produces? If not, you are in danger of becoming a commodity, being stuck in the race to the bottom, and going extinct!

In fact, Tom Peters, in his new book The Excellence Dividend, believes that a mindset of excellence is the antidote to job automation and product “Commodityville”.

Early in my career there was an incident in our office when one of the junior engineers handed a proposal to his manager for a final review before sending the proposal to the customer. The manager basically came unglued and ripped apart the junior engineer after he found a spelling mistake . . . in the client’s name!

After all the yelling subsided, the point that the manager was making with his protégé was that the entire company is a reflection of the work that is produced by every person in the company. A simple spelling mistake by one person can make the entire company look like buffoons!

Taking a few extra minutes to “be excellent” with spelling and grammar can differentiate you and your business.

I can think of quite a few examples of companies that that have differentiated themselves by a few simple acts. I have listed a few of them below:

  • The window washing company that cleans your gutters for free.
  • An auto repair shop that washes and vacuums your car after they finish the service on it.
  • The hardware store that puts on free birdhouse building classes for your kids.
  • A fast food restaurant that provides table service and offers free coffee refills.

These simple acts of excellence are differentiators and provide an incentive for customers to keep coming back!

So what does “excellence” look like for you and your business?

Be Excellent . . . Always!

According to Tom Peters, excellence is “the next five minutes.” In other words, always be excellent in everything you do!

If we want to differentiate ourselves in today’s marketplace, the best way is to be excellent in everything! Because, quite frankly, who does this?

Not many people and not many companies.

So, it makes sense that if you are excellent in everything you do then you will stand out from the competition. This means being excellent with;

  • Text messages
  • Emails
  • Written reports
  • Presentations
  • Speeches
  • Business meetings
  • Proposals
  • Phone conversations
  • Web site layout
  • Social media posts
  • Branding
  • Every face to face interaction
  • Invoicing
  • Collecting on overdue invoices
  • And on and on!

You may not be excellent in all these areas yet but nothing is stopping you from being excellent in the next 5 minutes, and the 5 minutes after that, and the 5 minutes after that. Before you know it, you have built a culture of excellence and you have truly differentiated yourself and your business!

Take Action

So where are you and your business at in the spectrum of business excellence? If the left side of the spectrum is “good enough” and the right side is “excellent,” where would you place your business? Where would you place yourself and your staff?

Set aside some time this week for a review of your business. Select some areas that need improvement and determine a course of action to move them towards the right side of the excellence spectrum!

Finally, take a look at these posts for more information:


We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle


What experiences with excellence have you had that would provide value to other readers? Leave your comments below!


We help leaders navigate marketplace complexities and build successful and lasting business legacies.

Call or email us today for more information or to book your free business assessment: 



Be sure to download a free copy of my new Ebook: 12 Steps to Business Transformation and to sign up at www.thinkingbusinessblog.com for weekly blog updates delivered to your inbox.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.