If not Now, then When?
This is a question posed by Tom Peters (and probably many others as well). It’s a searching question indeed but its more than that, it’s a challenging question.
The question is about excellence (if you know anything about Tom Peters, you’ll know that excellence is his thing) and how excellent you are going to be.
The challenge however, is that you are challenged not to answer in the future tense; the when part of the question, but in the present, the now part of the question. In many ways the when part of the question is pointless unless of course you are willing to be not excellent right now but you have a plan for the future. But honestly, if you said to your direct supervisor I’ll be great tomorrow but for today I’ll give you mediocre. Do you think that’s good enough? Is that acceptable if somebody were to say that to you?
The answer almost doesn’t need to be said but it’s going to be no, I want great today, in fact I want great right now, no delays, straight away.
So how to achieve excellence, getting the best from people and yourself. It seems there is little doubt that good leaders can have a great impact and correspondingly bad leaders can have a negative impact. The ability to lead, the ability to appreciate the need for change, the identification of appropriate changes and the ability to persuade others into implementation of change, these are the abilities of good leaders.
People generally speaking are happier to do things if they know why, they are given important and useful information enough for their position, enough for their contribution. And the information is taken seriously!
People need to feel valued; good levels of pay, consultation with, given feedback and praise where appropriate will help with morale levels. Empowering people and trusting them is the ultimate in morale boosting.
Companies that pay minimum wage under the illusion of wage efficiency are the companies committed to false economies. In 1914 Henry Ford raised the daily rate of pay from $2.34 to $5.00 and cut the working day from 10 hours to 9 hours. Result; people, talented people were applying for jobs, Henry Ford could pick the best.
This is If not Now, then When? in action and its over 100 years ago.
Now contrast that to the recent troubles at GM. James B Stewart offers “It has been long in coming, this slow death of what was once the greatest and biggest corporation in the world. The myriad causes of its demise have been thoroughly chronicled, but to my mind one stands out; The custodians of GM simply gave up trying to build the best cars in the world”
And FINNA, what does FINNA have to say about excellence;
Well right now you may if you choose achieve excellence, you may also choose to never again do anything that is not excellent.
Since at the heart of FINNA is completeness and contentedness, then being excellent will generally contribute to these states of being. The key is to understand that all we have is today, now even and so if at the end of your day you cannot say what you have contributed was truly excellent under the circumstances then the goal of excellence has not been achieved. Which leads me back to the question posed; If not Now, then When?
From the FINNA perspective the answer is not to answer the question, the question is pointless. Excellence is in the now. You simply cannot plan to be feel contended at some given point in the future, you cannot plan to feel completeness and at one with your world at some point in time in the future, these are impossible plans.
Seek out and be excellent at all times, period!
The right questions posed by Tom Peters are;
If not EXCELLENCE, what?
If not EXCELLENCE now, when?
Give yourself up to achieving excellence in all aspects of your life;
Be an excellent son/daughter
Be and excellent parent
Be an excellent employee
Be an excellent leader
Be excellent in all that you do
Thank you for reading, comments and contributions welcome.