Example #1 – Excellence in Education
The concept of excellence in education is one that, on the surface, seems to be unquestionable. After all, who would not accede that students within our schools should, in fact, excel? Certainly, teachers, parents, and administrators can agree on excellence as an aim to shoot for. The interpretation of the term “excellence” is, however, less obvious. How do we regard excellence? Is it the college-bound student with a broad liberal arts education? Is it the student who graduates high school trained in a specific trade? Many in the field of education cannot come to an agreement on how our schools can best achieve excellence for and from our students.
One of the many authorities who have contributed a model for what schools should be is Robert L. Ebel. According to Ebel, knowledge is the single most significant and most important goal in the education of children. In his article “What are schools for?” Ebel answers “that schools are for learning, and that what ought to be learned mostly is useful knowledge? (3).
He builds this declaration in answer to trends in education that focus on other aspects of learning in schools. Ebel states in the beginning of his article, that he does not assume schools should be social research agencies, recreational facilities, adjustment centers, or custodial institutions. (3). While he does not deny that our nation is currently wrestling with a dreary array of social ailments, he does argue that the answer to such problems can or should lie within the jurisdiction of our schools.
In discussing education’s mission to provide useful knowledge, Ebel defines what he means by the word knowledge: “It is an integrated structure of relationships among concepts and propositions” (5). Knowledge, the way Ebel describes it is not the same as information. Ebel states that “knowledge is built out of information by thinking”. Knowledge, according to Ebel, must be constructed from information by each individual learner; it cannot be looked up or given to students by a parent or teacher. ? A student must earn the right to say ?I know? by his own thoughtful efforts to understand? (Ebel, 5). The intellectual proficiencies many educators hope to teach are, like information, essentially useless to Ebel without a knowledge base on which to draw from.
Ebel feels that a good teacher can “motivate, direct, and assist the learning process to great advantage”. Although Ebel feels that good teachers are essential to providing a “favorable learning environment,” he puts much of the accountability for learning on the students themselves.
Ebel feels that teachers are there to facilitate students in their learning, not to coerce those who are indifferent and unmotivated and do not wish to learn, against their will. Ebel states that “for the most part, motivation to learn is an attitude a student has or lacks well before a particular course of instruction ever begins” (7).
In spite of the fact that his stress is unmistakably concentrated on the students, Ebel does briefly describe his idea of a “good teacher”. Good teachers, according to Ebel, have learned from past experiences. Such teachers provide “immediate recognition and rewards” for student achievement. Ebel in praising the school’s role in moral education, calls teachers “models of excellence and humanity” (4).
Ebel discusses moral education as another of education’s special missions, second only to the teaching of useful knowledge. Does the author define moral education as “the inculcation in the young of the accumulated moral wisdom of the race? (4). Ebel feels that moral education is being neglected and should have more emphasis placed on it. He feels that our youth has grown up as “moral illiterates.”
Although somewhat restricted by courts and public opinion, schools are the perfect place for the type of moral education advocated by Ebel. A sense of respect for regulations and discipline in the schools, along with the examples provided by teachers, ?can be powerful influences in moral education? (Ebel, 4).
Ebel’s article makes many recommendations of what schools should and should not be, and can and cannot do. He does not, however, explain to the reader exactly how schools should be structured. The author lists some of the qualities that he believes make up a “good learning environment” (Ebel, 6). Some of these qualities seem fairly obvious, for example, “capable, enthusiastic teachers” and “a class of willing learners.” Another quality listed by Ebel, reveals the author’s belief in traditional methods of teaching as well as learning.
By advocating “formal recognition and reward of achievement”, the article mentions traditions including “tests and grades, reports and honors, diplomas and degrees” (6). Ebel denotes that these instruments for rewarding excellence have long been incorporated into the structure of our schools. He urges educators to cling to these extrinsic motivations unless they are “willing to abandon excellence as a goal for our efforts”.
Another authority on the subject of excellence in schools is Diane Ravitch. Like Ebel, Ravitch, has suggested that schools must retain their traditional goals while varying in method. In her article ?A Good School?, Ravitch mentions Ron Edmonds, of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, who provides an outline of what makes an effective school:
Edmonds identified schools where academic achievement seemed to be independent of pupils? social class, and he concluded that such schools had an outstanding principal, high expectations for all children, an orderly atmosphere, a regular testing program, and an emphasis on academic learning (55).
Ravitch, however, does more than only recite her basic ideas on “effective” schooling. She depicts an actual school which, she feels, incorporates those ideals. That school is the Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn, New York and it is run by its principal, Saul Bruckner. Ravitch feels that what “Bruckner is doing deserves attention, not because it is the only way or even the best way, but because it is one successful way of wedding traditional goals with non-traditional means” (56).
As her support of “traditional goals” suggests, Ravitch’s views regarding schooling have much in common with those of Robert Ebel. Ravitch shares Ebel’s opinion that a refreshed stress on traditional academic programs is imperative to re-establish the effectiveness of the American education system. This return to academics is an essential part of Edward R. Murrow High School.
At Murrow, “all [students] are expected and required to take a strong academic program to graduate- that is a minimum of five academic courses through the school year” (Ravitch, 56). Although New York City requires that a certain percentage of “below-average” students be admitted to Murrow, no student is excluded from upper-level academic classes. ?The school philosophy is that no student should be discouraged from taking on an academic challenge? (Ravitch, 57).
Even though Murrow’s emphasis on academic goals is an example of traditional education, the setting and structure in which they are achieved are unique. “The school year and day are organized somewhat differently than they are at a more traditional school. Instead of two semesters, there are four cycles of ten weeks each” (Ravitch, 57).
The school also differs from most other schools in the curriculum it offers. It is important to note, however, that it is not the academic content that has been altered at Murrow, but the fashion in which it is presented. Many of the classes have been made to be more appealing to the students and have been renamed. Murrow sets ?high requirements for graduation, but the school permits students to meet those requirements by choosing among a carefully designed mix of required and elective courses? (Ravitch, 57).
Another way in which Edward R. Murrow High School differs from most other public schools is in its use of a teaching method known as the “developmental lesson” or the “socialized recitation”. Principal Saul Bruckner demands that all of the teachers at Murrow use this method in teaching their classes. On her first visit to Murrow, Ravitch observed Bruckner as he taught an American history class:
The lesson was taught in a Socratic manner. Mr. Bruckner did not lecture. He asked questions and kept up a rapid-fire dialogue among the students? Sometimes he called on students who were desperately waving their arms, and other times he solicited the views of those who were sitting quietly? It was a good lesson: it was well planned, utilizing a variety of materials and media; and the students were alert and responsive (Ravitch, 59).
This kind of instruction, when used by an experienced teacher, opposes an American education system where there is an abundance of “student passivity, and little if any thought-provoking activity in the typical classroom” (Ravitch, 59).
Among the numerous characteristics of Edward R. Murrow High School that Ravitch finds meritorious is its lack of a vocational program. The school has not attained its high degree of effectiveness with intelligent students “by pushing the average ones into nursing and automobile mechanics” (Ravitch, 60). Neither Ravitch nor Ebel see vocational education as a priority in the American school system. In spite of this scarcity of attention by some theorists, vocational education is actually the focus of many current debates.
Joe Kincheloe, in his book Toil and Trouble, states schooling is always a “struggle over particular ways of life and particular epistemologies” (32). The controversy about American vocational schooling is a debate over what type of education is more valuable: one that emphasizes academic knowledge and attempts to prepare students for college, or one that values the knowledge of work and prepares students to be trained in a skill, to find a job.
For Kincheloe, it is imperative that education approaches the matters of the workplace. The failure of American schools today is a “failure of vision, an inability to connect the tenets of democracy with the construction of our institutions” (Kincheloe, 1). This lack of vision has left both schools and workplaces with failures in many other domains: motivation, creativity, self-awareness, and social justice.
The nonsuccess of many educational reform movements can, according to Kincheloe, be credited to their incapacity to see the critical association between the world of education and the world of work. In contrast, Kincheloe’s own intended amendments are contingent on the assumption that schools and workplaces are intrinsically connected, that they are “two features of the same problem” (2).
Although there has been a recent promotion for vocational education in our public high schools, inherent programs have come under attack from all sides. Kincheloe views vocational education, as it currently exists, as a failure because it has failed to work in relation to economic actualities. In addition, ?vocational education has failed to create a vision of good work or a democratic workplace” (Kincheloe, 31). A lot of the instruction has been too confined.
Specific skills taught to students in vocational courses can become out-of-date. Kincheloe believes that in a time in which the workplace is changing to become more technologically complex, the industry is requiring workers who value understanding ahead of knowledge.
The answer, then, is for students to be taught, not only specific skills but, instead, the larger academic concepts that embrace them. According to Kincheloe, this can be achieved through the merging of vocational and academic education. Kincheloe indicates that many discussions encompassing this type of integration concentrate on reform for vocational programs solely. His work, however, cites integration as a means of reforming all schooling, vocational and academic.
Proponents point out that integration forces schools to reduce class size, improve student counseling, provide coherent programs of courses, offer greater contact between teachers and students, and create closer relationships with social institutions outside of school (Kincheloe, 39).
Alterations made to accommodate integration would, according to Kincheloe, have a completely positive effect on an American education system that most experts accede is in a severe crisis.
John Goodlad is unquestionably one of the authorities mourning the state of America’s schools. As he states in the very first line of his book A Place Called School, “American schools are in trouble” (1). Behind this “trouble” is, according to Goodlad, a loss of public faith in our schools. “The ability of schools to do their traditional jobs of assuring literacy and eradicating ignorance is at the center of current criticism” (Goodlad, 2). The confidence of the society in schools? competencies to reach these fundamental goals is necessary to its support of schools. When there is a deficiency of such faith, as Goodlad claims there currently is, there is a withdrawal of support, both financial and otherwise.
This presumed incapability of the schools to teach “the basic” academics promoted by Ravitch, Ebel and others, has been reflected in lower test scores. Goodlad states ?an array of conditions surrounding the conduct of schooling? as some of the reasons there are problems in schools (7).
Do these conditions include the weakening of the household and church as stable factors in a child’s education, the deterioration of the previously supportive relationship between the school and the home, a change in the nature of our communities and neighborhoods, the decline of the political coalitions that had fought for support of our public schools in the past, the division present among educators themselves, the changing roles, tasks, and student populations facing high schools, and the array of “educating forces” such as television, that students encounter outside of school.
Although Goodlad names conditions outside the school as contributing to its decay as an institution, he does give credence to the fact that schools can be effective. One of the propositions of his book, however, is his recognition that “the schools we need now are not necessarily the schools we have known” in the past (2). Goodlad’s recommendations for reform may be perceived in many ways as a middle ground between the extreme academic focus suggested by both Ebel and Ravitch, and the radical integration suggested by Kincheloe. In chapter two of his book, Goodlad lays the foundations for a detailed list of the goals our schools should be attempting to comprehend (51).
His first set of goals is similar to those of Ebel. The “basic” skills include reading, writing and arithmetic. Goodlad does, however, take his description of academics beyond the basics by encompassing such goals as “develop positive attitudes toward intellectual activity, including curiosity and a desire for further learning” and “develop an understanding of change in society” (52).
Second, only to academic goals, is vocational goals. Like Kincheloe, Goodlad disapproves of vocational education as it had evolved in recent years. He instead, calls for vocational programs that teach students the main concepts needed to succeed in the workplace.
Rather than narrow, specific skills, Goodlad’s goals include “learn to make decisions based on an awareness and knowledge of career options” and “develop positive attitudes toward work” (52). Goodlad does not stop at just vocational and academic goals, but he goes on to list such goals as “social, civic, and cultural goals? that were eagerly rejected by Ebel, as well as something he refers to as “personal goals?.
Goodlad feels that the state, rather than an individual school should be held accountable for change. He suggests a “tendency to overlook the broad focus of reform and the awesome task of hammering out state policy, and to zero in on school and classroom- not to listen and learn, but to change things quickly” (57). Many people, teachers, and theorists similarly, believe the contrary is true: Teachers have not been given enough of a voice in the argument of school reform.
In their purpose as education practitioners, teachers are the spirit of any education system. As such it is paradoxical that in spite of the fact that they often endure most of the outside criticism, they are very seldom involved in actual decision making outside their classrooms.
In addition to the broad reform programs indicated by the theorists considered in this paper, as well as others, the profession of teaching also seems to be in need of some improvement to better allow teachers to successfully acclimatize to the changing times.
As Beverly Caffee Glenn Points out, ?the most long-lasting and beneficial reforms in teaching would involve structural and social changes in the profession itself? (2). She feels that more emphasis should be placed on classroom teaching in order to keep the best teachers in the classroom, as opposed to the current trend that encourages the top teachers to ?move up the ladder? into administrative work.
These reforms, however, are most often discussed by politicians, bureaucrats, advocates, and the media, rather than by those who have the most impact on what is actually taught and the manner in which it is presented. Whether we ultimately follow the visions set forth by Ebel, Ravitch, Kincheloe, Goodlad, or someone else, teachers must be included in any major reform movements. They must not be handed a mandate for change, but ?the authority to make major decisions and the direct responsibility for higher student achievement? (Glenn, 27).
Example #2 – Excellence Is Your Best Weapon For Fighting Racism
The Bible says that “the poor will always be with us.” An similar statement is that racism will always be with us. So, the question is, “What should we do about it?” There are many ways to fight racism: you might march, protest, complain, or beg the government for help. Some of these methods have worked well in the past. However, I think the best and most effective weapon today for fighting racism is excellence. Excellence will bring down more racial barriers than all the marching and shouting in the world.
To develop the weapon of excellence, we must take advantage of all the educational opportunities that are available to us. Even though the doors of opportunity are not always opened equally to everyone, there are still ways to be what you want to be, go where you want to go, and have what you want to have.
And it does not matter where you live, how poor you are. You still have the ability to succeed. As long as you have your health and can think, success is possible.
Accepting the fact that the doors of opportunity are not opened equally to everyone, one thing that is equal for everyone is time. There is the same number of hours in the day for all of us. How you use these hours is your choice. You can use them on the playground or you can use them to play the books. Playing on the playground might give you some hours of immediate enjoyment, but playing the books will give you long-term gratification.
African Americans and other minorities can no longer use the excuses of being poor or living in a bad neighborhood or small town to keep us from achieving excellence through education. In some cases, the poorer you are the more educational opportunities that are available to you. Poverty should not be an excuse for not working up to your potential. No matter how poor you think you are, there is always someone who is poorer.
Please do not be embarrassed by or ashamed of the size your home town. Many individuals from small towns have become very successful and risen to the top of their professions. If President Clinton can change his address from Hope, Arkansas to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C., then you know it is possible to fulfill your aspirations, whatever they might be.
President Clinton’s rise to the top of his profession suggests to me that whether you are a big time runner from New York City, or a guy who runs around the block in Fall City, Washington, the formula for success in life is still the same.
That formula is hard work, dedication, determination, and a small amount of recreation. Like any good recipe, some ingredients are more important than others. If you are making a cake, you use a lot more sugar than salt. And if you want to have a life of cake, hard work should be your sugar and recreation your salt.
For those African Americans and other minorities who are attending mainly white schools, you should use the scientific approach to problem solving. When scientists and engineers solve problems, they always state what is given and what is assumed. It can be given that a particular professor or teacher is racist, or you can assume that he or she is a racist. Either way, you must find a solution to the problem. I am not advocating in the classroom, but you should choose the right weapon for the right occasion. In this case, making an “A” in the course is the best weapon.
If you think racism is bad now, just imagine how things were 30 years ago. Every time I hear someone mention how bad racism is today, I am reminded of a movie I once saw, when a young black teenage boy and his grandfather were going to town one morning in a small southern town. As the boy and his grandfather drove through a stoplight, a policeman saw them run the light and pulled them over.
The policeman walked up to the car and asked: “Boy, why did you run that red light?” The grandfather’s reply was, “Captain, I saw the white folks going on the green light so I thought the red light was for us.” At least we have progressed to the point that we can now go on the yellow light.
Let me restate, you should not let racism or any other kind of “isms” keep you from being successful. Often you will hear some minority students at mainly white schools make the statement, “If this place were not so racist I would do better in school.” Our nation is way off of being successful, because all racism will never be removed from our schools or society.
The likelihood of this happening is about the same as finding elephants roosting in trees. You should remember that when you are educating the field to success, you will hit a few rocks. Some of the rocks will be black, some will be white, and others will be all colors in between. Regardless of whether the rocks are black or white, if you want to cut a good harvest, you had better keep plowing. It is the seed you scatter that decides what your harvest is going to look like. You cannot plant corn and expect to harvest tomatoes.
Let’s face it everyone, many of you have not worked up to your full potential. If the police were to arrest some of you today based on the effort you put into your school work, they would have to release you due to a lack of evidence. Academically, if you are going in the wrong direction, for whatever reasons, I want you to know that it is not illegal to make a U-turn. As you view your horizon, in your vision lie the problems of today and the successes of tomorrow.
What do you see?
Example #3 – In Search Of Excellence
In Search of Excellence was the 1982 best-selling look at excellent companies and an attempt to identify the attributes they had in common that helped to make them successful. Thomas Peters and Robert Waterman studied dozens of American companies and deemed these companies to be excellent: Bechtel, Boeing, Caterpillar, Dana, Johnson & Johnson, Hewlett-Packard, Delta, Fluor, IBM, Procter and Gamble, McDonalds, 3M, Digital Equipment and Emerson Electric.
The book gives many anecdotes describing incidents of unusual efforts by employees, contributing to long-term financial performance and growth.
For example, IBM products were described to have higher cost than their competitors, and were harder to use. But customers felt that IBM went to unusual lengths to get to know their needs. They offered unequaled guarantees of reliability and service, which spoke of assurance and success. Procter and Gamble is regarded more for extreme commitment to product quality than for their legendary marketing. Frito’s potato chip salesmen strive to achieve a 99.5% service level. This is the foundation of its extraordinary success. Analysts showed how much could be saved if Frito would reduce its commitment to service The analysts are right, Frito would save money. However, analysts can not begin to predict the impact of service unreliability on the sales force, retailers, and eventually on the market share loss.
The successful companies limited themselves to a handful of themes that were intense and repetitive, and highly successful in helping employees buy into themes.
Quality and service were the hallmarks of these companies. In addition, everyone’s cooperation was required; they demanded extraordinary performance from average employees. Productivity through people was a common theme.
Excellent companies were ingenious on the basics. Companies worked hard to make things simple. They insisted on quality and made each customer feel vital. They listened to employees and treated them like adults. The excellent companies allowed for some chaos in return for quick action and regular experimentation. They simply persisted.
Over-commitment on reliability by Caterpillar (forty-eight hour parts service anywhere in the world or Cat pays) or Maytag (ten years trouble-free operation) makes no sense. Who in his right mind would establish MBWA (management by walking around), as HP does? Those excellent companies would have a hard time convincing skeptics that they had solid management practices.
The authors finally realized that they did not have to look at Japan to find the answer to corporate problems. Excellent companies here at home have been doing it right for years, with little fanfare.
The psychologist Ernest Becker explains that man needs at the same time to be a member of a winning team and a star in his own right. The excellent companies have found ways to meet both needs.
Excellent companies are learning organizations, and they create their own internal marketplace. When IBM had a 90% market share, they did it by creating the specter of competitors. A number of the companies in the book would ensure that departments would compete against each other on products.
Mavericks in a company usually make the big leaps. Studies have demonstrated that the industry leader never does.
Excellent companies get results because their organizations are fluid. These companies often insist on informality, and keeping in constant informal contact, such as MBWA (management by walking around).
Superb companies reinforced degrees of winning rather than degrees of losing. For example, IBM sets goals so that 70-80% of its salespeople meets quotas. A competitor works so that only 40% of the sales force can meet its quota. Thus, about 60% of the salesmen feel like losers. Rate someone a loser and they’ll think and act like one. The excellent companies’ strategies are not only designed to produce winners, but to celebrate the winning. People tune out if they fail, because they blame the system. If they win, they feel they are responsible.
Too much information can overload people. Excellent companies keep corporate staff small. There isn’t enough corporate staff around to generate as much confusion down the road. Dana has fewer than 100 people in its headquarters. Ford, on the other hand, has 17 layers of management, while Toyota has five.
A key is that excellent companies focus on only a few key business values and objectives. This lets everyone know what’s important. When Dana got a new CEO, he threw out over 22″ of policy manuals and replaced them with a one-page statement focusing on the “productive people”.
In these companies were eight traits the authors felt significantly contributed to their success. Kimsey Mann, CEO of the world’s second largest apparel manufacturer, believes that every one of the eight is about people. Each one may seem trite, but the intensity of the implementation of these traits, especially when compared to their competitors, is remarkable. The eight practices work because they make great sense. These basics are not new or untested, but managers have merely ignored the following practices.
A Bias For Action
The authors describe American companies as limited by structures which hinder action. Extraordinary effort was seen when a worker was given even a small measure of control over his destiny. He then has a bias for getting things done.
Drastic simplification has been a key. Instead of a long-term task team that generates only reports, a task team may last only a week, generating results. This inhibits paralysis by analysis; when action stops while planning takes over. Chunking is a term for focusing on a problem and getting it resolved immediately.
People with ideas are deflated by those who want to prove something won’t work, killing initiative. Most companies take pride in setting very high goals for people, which is often self-defeating.
Close To The Customer
The excellent companies listened regularly and intently to customers, instead of treating them like they were a nuisance. Other companies talk about it but these companies do it. IBM hasn’t been a technology leader for decades. It’s dominance was because of service. The head of IBM World-Trade said that IBM acted as though it was on the verge of losing every customer. A significant part of the excellent companies’ mission statements spoke of service. They tended to be more driven by a focus on the customers than technology or cost.
Autonomy and Entrepreneurship
The excellent companies strive for leadership and innovation. They seem like a network of people who are encouraged to let their imagination go in all directions, rather than a large corporation. They are big and yet act small.
Product champions are innovators who believe so strongly in their product they take on the challenge of manuevering a product through the system. The companies indulge them because a volunteer champion was key to success. When someone had to be talked into a task the chances of success dropped dramatically. New ideas often show little promise early on. The champion succeeds because he is a driving force behind innovations, and he believes in the product.
Productivity Through People
These companies treat the rank and file as the source of quality and productivity improvements. Respect for the individual means that every worker is a source of ideas, not just a pair of hands. They have shown that if you treat people as adults, as partners, they really do view themselves as an extended family. There is an apparent absence of a rigidly followed chain of command in these companies. Informality seems to spark a free-flowing exchange of ideas.
Bringing financial information to the blue-collar workers makes the goals clear and the job seem more of a partnership. Very few layers are truly needed to make the companies work.
Hands-on, Value Driven
Leaders are legendary for walking plant floors (MBWA), visiting stores to assess them, and being highly visible. Employees know what their company stands for, and what they can view with pride years down the road. The excellent companies had a well-defined set of guiding beliefs, and stayed close to those beliefs. The annual reports of these companies make clear what their values are.
Dominant beliefs include importance of people as individuals, belief in superior quality and service, innovation, and informality.
Stick to the Knitting
The companies studied in the book believe that you should never acquire a business you don’t know how to run, but stay close to the business you know. Related diversification pays off best, as unrelated diversification is frequently not profitable. Virtually all growth has been internally generated for these companies. They do acquire, but only in small increments, and are willing to get out if it doesn’t work.
Simple Form, Lean Staff
Lean top-level staffs are the norm for these performers. It was not unusual to run a huge enterprise with a staff of fewer than 100 people. Product divisions are treated as separate companies.
They have shown that hands-on management works better with less middle management. A difference in philosophy between Japan and US is shown by the fact that US management tends to believe that no one can control more than 5-7 people. One bank in Japan has several hundred managers reporting to one person. When the form is simple, a company can survive with a smaller staff.
Simultaneous Loose-Tight Properties
Excellent companies are simultaneously centralized and decentralized; a firm central direction and individual autonomy. Excellent companies are devoted core values, and within those values, they allow much experimenting. They are at once rigidly controlled and yet encourage innovation. Attention to the customer is the most strictly adhered to property.
The companies may seem simplistic. Yet, astonishing results have come from simply believing that every product can be of the highest quality, that every customer can get exceptional service, or that a worker can contribute a new idea regularly.
This book is meticulously researched on the subjects of what motivates people and what makes organizations work. I agree that our work is more fulfilling if we are excited and committed to what we are doing.
Hindsight tells us the eight attributes were simply things those companies did well at the time, but were they the answer to longevity? Apparently not, as a number of the excellent companies have not maintained their level of success. It would be interesting to research why some of these formerly successful companies are not still as successful. I believe that a lot would have to do with the ability of companies to adapt to a more rapidly changing world.
Past insights are a necessity because they teach us something about how to create a more successful future. However, hindsight also shows us that the information technology revolution was dramatically underestimated at the time this book was written. In addition, the Internet likely had a significant impact on the potential of a global market for companies.
It would be quite interesting to read a sequel to this book. What happened to impact the fortunes and futures of the companies discussed? Did the philosophies that made them successful change with new management? Were any companies successful in implementing the practices described? This book discusses many valid points, and a follow-up book would also be exceptionally interesting.
When this class began my personal definition of excellence would have either been success, morality or a combination of the two, throughout the course of this semester that has changed. I now believe excellence to be what I think Aristotle believed it to be, which is happiness.
This happiness however is not the simple emotion that we experience when something goes our way, but an extremely heightened feeling of content. Content to the point where one loves everything about their life, from their family, to their job, to their social status in life. I believe that this happiness takes a very long time and a lot of hard work to achieve, however I think that everyone is capable of eventually achieving excellence through this happiness. This happiness is exactly what I now strive to achieve and it has become my major goal in life. I have somewhat of a plan to achieve this happiness and I am hopeful that my plan will work.
So far in my life I have not had the opportunity to do much in the way of excellence, nor have I personally had any life changing experiences that have set me on a life goal. However, some of the most important influences on my life are the experiences that my family members have gone through that I have personally observed, or have heard about from those involved. The most important set of these events being the decision my brother made at the end and directly after high school.
For the last two years of high school my brother, Leo, decided to put his schoolwork aside and began partying a rather excessive amount. This led to him having very low grades, which dropped his GPA greatly. When it came time for a college decision Leo hardly had the grades to into college but luckily he was accepted to the University of North Florida. Before my brother left for school my parents constantly asked him if this was what he really wanted to do and it always said that it was okay if he didn’t, but he always said yes.
My brother lasted for two semesters in college before dropping out. This however did not happen before my parents spent thousands of dollars to help him with his academic career. These two years led to countless fights between my parents and my brother as well as between my mother and father, many nights of crying for my mom and thousands of dollars lost. My brother now is in debt because of unpaid school bills and his credit is very low.
This also led to Leo and my mom not speaking or only speaking very unpleasantly for over six months. As I watched this entire situation play out it only helped to ensure my passion to go to school. Watching all of this happen between my family members greatly affected where I am today. Secondly, everything that my mom has told me about her life growing up has helped put me on the path that I am on today. My mom grew up rather poor and in a family that for the most part lacked any higher education. My mom’s family mostly consisted of military or police personnel and housewives with simple day jobs such as laundry workers.
Despite all of this, after high school my mom worked multiple jobs and earned scholarships to pay her way through college, she graduated with a bachelors degree in physical therapy and began her very successful career in physical therapy. My mother is now the rehab director at the hospital where she works, making six figures. Because my mom grew up without money she was able to hold on to her roots and has always believed that family and come before money. She has instilled these values in me and I believe they make me a better person.
My biggest goal in life, as far as what can be measured, is to become a clinical psychiatrist. I think that being able to help people with their mental health problems will bring me great joy. I also hope to have a loving family that I can teach the importance of love and family to as my mom taught to me. The number one thing that keeps me on my path is my desire to make my family proud.
Without my family I truly wouldn’t be anything and I want to show them all that they have done for me; and the best way that I know to do this is to become successful. My other biggest motivation in life is my girlfriend, Bonnie. Ever since we began our relationship almost everything that I have done has been in an effort to impress or make her happy. She is one of the strongest people I know and is definitely the hardest working. In everything that Bonnie does she always works to be the best, from academics to the art to athletics, she never fails to impress. Bonnie has helped to teach me the meaning of hard work and where it can get you.
Personally I don’t think I am truly excellent at anything. I always strive to do my best and to be the best person that I can in anything that I do, however I believe that it takes time to be excellent at anything. I think that I certainly have the capacity to one day be excellent at something but I simply need more time to develop this excellence. As for my accomplishments, I don’t think that I have actually achieved anything that can be called an outstanding accomplishment. I guess that my greatest accomplishment would just be where I currently am in life. I’m proud that I was able to gain acceptance to a college with multiple scholarships and was also accepted into said college’s honors program.
The person I look up to the most in my life is, with out a doubt, my mom. My mom has always been the most important figure in my life and I doubt anyone will ever take that place. She is the most loving, caring and selfless person that I have ever met. Without my mother I would have never been able to achieve anything that I have so far in my life. I strive to be like my mother in every way, as a parent, as a spouse, as a student and as a professional. In my opinion my mother has achieved the happiness and excellence that Aristotle speaks of.
In the long run my main objective in life is to achieve happiness. I plan to do this by eventually becoming a successful, clinical psychiatrist with my own private practice. I believe that by having a career where I can help people everyday and see actual results, I will quickly achieve true happiness. Throughout the semester I have been able to find my definition of the word excellence. Once I found this definition I was able to look how at how excellence is achieved and then apply those steps to my life.
For me personally, I believe that in order to achieve excellence through happiness I will need a steady job where I can help people and a small but loving family. I know that this is something that will take many years and a lot of hard work to gain but I think that I am dedicated enough to persevere through the hard times. I see my biggest strength as my capacity to learn. Ever since I was a little kid I have always been able to pick things up very quickly and do them well, especially in subjects that interested me. I plan to use this ability throughout college and medical school to advance my career as a doctor.
My greatest weakness I would say is my slight tendency to procrastinate. If I am able to fix this problem and discipline myself greater I think I can achieve my goals. So far this semester I have worked at this already and have been doing pretty well. Before I took this class I didn’t really have any kind of life philosophy, but now I think that has changed. To me hard work is one of the most important characteristics in life and I believe it can take me wherever I want to go.
In the future I simply plan to continue working hard and striving for the best grades I can. I also wish to start getting more involved in order to advance my knowledge further. I believe that this will help to broaden my horizons as well as help me get into a strong medical school. I know that the next twelve years are going to be very long and hard but if I achieve the excellence that I wish to achieve I know that it will be worth it.
Example #5 – Passion for Excellence
I believe excellence is the key leading to success. More than ever, we are nonstop improving ourselves in order not to be left behind. However, each of us has deferent goals and formulas to achieve our goals. To me, I have a strong belief in the knowledge I have gained. It Increases considerably the chance of my success. On top of that Is the passion I put Into everything I do. Knowledge determines who we are In society. We all have at least once asked ourselves why we have to go to school. Most of the time, the answer Is because our parents asked us to.
Only up till now, I believe they were totally right. The primary school taught me the very first handwriting, which now people use to Judge how I am. High school explained almost all questions that people around me could only give vague answers. Moreover, now I am gradually making my dream come true in university. I cannot build my knowledge today without experiences in life. I used to be always afraid of failure. Unfortunately, the more I am scared of it, the more likely it will occur. That mistake is probably the biggest shame I have ever had. My radiation could only be a disaster unless my teacher appeared.
However, it was also a turning point in my life. That moment gave me the lesson that success does not only include training but also through challenges. Nowadays, people tend to give up on their goals too easily, which then leads to an immediate failure.
The reason for this is because of the lack of passion. Donald Trump, a well-known successful billionaire, used to advice the new generation to find their passion and love what they do. His achievement is the best evidence for this secrete component of success. The passion we hold to each goal helps and substantially overcomes the discouragement in front of any loss.
Once we understand, every target is achievable. In conclusion, with knowledge and passion, nothing Is impossible. When we prepare ourselves readily, I believe there is no challenge can stop us from reaching the highest possible achievement. A quote I always tell myself, “follow the excellence, success will chase me”. P. s: I am looking forward to receiving feedback for my essay, despite of the final result. Thank for your time Passion for excellence By unhyphenated 1 ACH of us has different goals and formulas to achieve our goals.
To me, I have a strong belief in the knowledge I have gained. It increases considerably the chance of my success. On top of that is the passion I put into everything I do. Knowledge determines who we are in society. We all have at least once asking ourselves that why we have to go to school. Most of the time, the answer is because be always afraid of failure. Unfortunately, the more I am scared of it, the more likely it In conclusion, with knowledge and passion, nothing is impossible. When we prepare result. Thank you for your time.
Success or excellence, which is more valuable? So many people desire to be successful, yet struggle to attain excellence. Excellence is far more precious and valuable than success. It is more fulfilling and rewarding. In fact, when success and excellence are contrasted, one can see that, in our world, excellence is essential. Success is driven by pride and arrogance while excellence is steered by self-effacement.
A successful person catches the eye of the crowd and receives special treatment.
Those who wish to achieve excellence must first make a sacrifice. To pursue excellence is like embarking on a long journey that leads to many obstacles and detours. Those who wish to conqueror the journey must dedicate their time, effort, and resources. Dictionary. com defines excellence as the “state or quality of excelling or being exceptionally good; extreme merit; superiority. According to Johnston (1996), “success is like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
We dream of it as children, we strive for it through our adult lives, and we suffer melancholy in an old age if we have not achieved it. ” On the contrary, “excellence brings us to reality, and a deep gratitude for the affirming promise of the rainbow” (pg 33). Excellence is going the extra mile and doing it with passion.
The Word of God declares, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24, NLT). God wants us to excel and He has already equipped us with the tools and resources to attain it. Although a person can become successful through mediocrity, excellence can only be attained by those who devote 100% of their time and ability.
Knowledge about organisational behaviour has become very important to a manager’s performance and success. Therefore, it is not surprising that writers often claim to have the information that managers need if they are to excel in their jobs. In Search of Excellence is one of the most well known books of this type. In the book, Peters-and Waterman outlined seven principles that they claimed to be excellent management tactics and a 7-S Framework. In Search of Excellence is a book dealing with many different principles of economics and what makes big business’ excellent.
The first idea that the author discusses is his chart of the 7-S Framework. The graph is very simple but the ideas are fairly complex. In their research, they found that their concepts were too hard to explain and easily forgettable. They made this framework to deal with strategy, structure, style, systems, staff, skills, and shared values. This has 7 S’s and a graphical representation to visualize. This shows the businessman that problems can be managed. For example, anyone assuming that a new manager of a Macdonald s will perform exactly as the old manager did is ridiculous. The workers must adjust and adapt to the new manager’s way of business.
The first principle is a bias for action. This is basically saying “Stop talking and do something about it.” When Macdonald s has a rush of customers and their supplies for making food are low, they (usually) don’t say “You know what, I have no more cheese” or “Could
someone get me some more cheese?” They take action and get the cheese, make it if necessary, and get the problem solved as quickly as possible.
The second Principle they deal with is to be close to the customer. This means good service and listening to what the customer has to say. If the producer, Macdonald s, is not in touch with what the customer wants to eat, then the business will most likely fail. Although it also refers to customer satisfaction; quality food made right and good service, “Have a nice day and enjoy your meal!”
The third basic principle is productivity through people. This deals with the individual as the best means for efficiency improvement rather than capital investment. If Macdonald s could put everyone in the area of work they most enjoyed (drive-thru, washer,…) then they could produce more food and maximize their business.
The forth basic principle is hands on, value driven. This is the standard setting and enforcing values in a company. This is keeping the boss in touch with the assembly line worker and projecting the company’s original ideas, instead of an image of some suited businessman who confines himself in an office.
The fifth and often obvious principle is to stick to the knitting. The basically says that if a company is in the food business, it should not branch off into the computer business unless they have no where else to expand in the industry they are already in.
The sixth basic principle is a simple form, lean staff. This means leaving few people up top to manage a company and keep the form of management simple.
The seventh and final basic principle is simultaneous loose-tight properties. This is another value-based principle. This could be described as the ability for a worker of Macdonald s to do his/her job in his/her own way as they incorporate the company’s values and concepts into their work. These values demonstrate that they don’t just work because they work, but rather because they just make sense.
In search of excellence shows that the excellent companies had been based on the basics. The companies had to try to keep things simple. Sometimes, to a big business, it might seem logical that business should be run more complex the larger it is. From research, this is usually not true. Ignoring the seven principles above would be foolish in the business world.