On Saturday 3rd March 2018 Sir Roger Bannister died peacefully at the age of 88 surrounded by his loving family in Oxford.
When he was 25 years of age, apart from being known as a renowned neurologist, Sir Roger, made history by being the first athlete to complete a mile run in just under 4 minutes at 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. While a certain myth has revolved around the elusive under-4-minute mile, this achievement was, nonetheless, historic. What made this record-breaking event even more significant was that within 46 days John Landy, an Australian, completed the same distance in 3 minutes 58 seconds. Since then, the record has continued to be broken by both men and women athletes.
Managing Service Quality
While readers of this blog may understandably be wondering if the focus of the discussion is on sporting prowess as opposed rather than managing quality within human services. Apart from Sir Roger’s athletic record, the fact that the under-4-minute mile has been consistently improved upon since May 1954 is the primary purpose of this discussion as it highlights the importance of enhancement.
If we want to fully understand the importance of enhancement, all we need to do is look at a favourite product or service that we use or avail of in our lives. Humankind’s love affair with the phone is one example of someone asking, “How can we make it better?” instead of, “Is it good enough?”. This then is the essence of enhancement. Always ask, “How can we do it better?”, “How can we make it better?”. These are questions we need to ask ourselves, our colleagues and fellow team members not necessarily when things are wrong, but when everything is going right.
Passion and Pride
The quotation at the top of this blog comes from a book by Tom Peters and Nancy Austin called A Passion for Excellence written in 1982. Although nearly 40 years in print, the message that the writers deliver is still as important and highly relevant today as it was then, if not more so. The delivery of quality products and services coupled with a commitment to enhancement can really only occur if those designing and delivering on quality are passionate about their work and take pride in what they design and deliver to and for people.
Real quality service provision that is at the heart of excellent human services can only be delivered by people who are passionate about the need to enhance the lives of fellow citizens. Pride in such enhancement of quality represents a cornerstone of human service provision.
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