It is now 30 years ago since I was first interviewed by a magazine for an article. I was pretty fired up and felt rather important. At that time I was a senior director in a hotel in Bangkok.
The interviewer asked me what my driving thoughts were on what makes a great business and I replied, "Focus, Intensity and Excellence".
All these years later I still believe that they hold true. I have been through many different life experiences, messed up a number of times (actually a lot!), and succeeded here are there too. These three things are critical to understand if you want to attain greatness.
Focus. This is the ability to stick to something that you want to see happen and not let go. In a meeting, you have a desired outcome? You stick at it. You have a project to complete? You stick at it. You avoid the noise. You isolate yourself from distraction and you stay focused. My dream was to be in the number one hotel in the world. We won that award twice, two consecutive years. It was an amazing feeling. How did we do it? We were focused.
Every person in the organization was focused. We lived it, breathed it and talked it every day. In meetings, in our behavior, in our actions. If it did not contribute to customer happiness it was discarded. How could we make it better, how could we make it greater? How could we be better than anyone else? These were the questions of topmost importance.
Intensity. How high can you turn up the heat and keep on going? As high as you can! Intensity is like being a fire. If someone touches you they will feel the heat. They will get burned unless they are burning at the same temperature. Intensity is all about taking your focus and getting others to move with you. You set others on fire. You encourage and cajole and inspire them to put in every effort. This is intensity. There is no clock. There are no hours. It is a fools game. Intensity cannot be attained by anyone other than a madman and his mad crew.
Intensity has its own frequency and only those who are on it can keep it going. Some start to become intense, but because the demands are so high they give up. They quit. They forget that the curve of transformation has to go through the pit of doubt where you have to decide for yourself that you are going to commit to this challenge and grow, and go with it personally. You cannot borrow someone else's intensity. It has to come out of you.
Excellence. Is it really worth doing anything other than being the best? No! Being excellent is powerful. Being excellent changes lives. It causes greatness. You drive to become better at each step. You are not looking back for your accolades, awards and trophies are meaningless. You are fighting to go forward and upwards. Excellence trumps perfectionism because perfect is a fixed place, excellence soars past it. Excellence is never perfect because it is seeking to improve itself. To get better, to go higher and to do more than it has accomplished before.
My inner mantra?