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Message From The CEO

Achieving Organizational Greatness Through Great Leaders, Effective Individuals, and Focused Execution

The Challenge of Greatness

“Good” may be good enough for some. But most of us want more than that. Something inside us makes us want to be better than good. We want to be part of a team whose members, even years later, will be remembered for what they accomplished. We want to go for greatness!

At FranklinCovey, our passion and mission is to enable greatness in people and organizations everywhere. And, we have studied the topic of great performance at perhaps an unprecedented level.

We have been privileged to work with thousands of organizations striving to achieve it. We have gone deep inside the operations of more than 500 of these organizations, examined and synthesized the data from more than 225,000 survey respondents, and worked with and analyzed more than 2,000 work teams. We wanted to understand what constitutes great performance, what gets in the way of it, what conditions are necessary for it, and what a leader's role is in achieving it.

As a result, we have learned a lot about the topic of organizational greatness and what does and doesn't matter in getting there. For example:

  • The “strategic hand” dealt to great performers was not materially different from that dealt to good performers. Great performers simply did more with the hand they were dealt.
  • There are pockets of great performance in every organization, and the great performers didn't typically have more basic know-how than good performers. Great performers were simply much more successful at institutionalizing what they did know. They were better at execution; better at reducing inconsistency and getting the middle 60 percent of their operations—their core performers—to operate at levels much closer to that of their top performers.

What Is Greatness?

While absolute financial or operating performance is often the only “measure of greatness” people look at, our research shows that great organizations always produce four key “outcomes.” These four outcomes produced by great performers are:

  • Sustained superior performance. They succeed financially, or operationally, in both the short and long term—and not just on an absolute basis, but relative to their market potential or the hand they're dealt.
  • Intensely loyal customers. They earn not only the “satisfaction” of their customers, but their true loyalty.
  • Highly engaged and loyal employees. The people who work at great organizations are more than satisfied—they are energized and passionate about what they do.
  • Distinctive contribution. They do more than “business as usual”—they fulfill a unique mission that sets them apart from the crowd.

These four outcomes are measurable, unmistakable, and attainable by any organization.

The Rewards of Greatness

Why would an organization “go for greatness”? Why not settle for merely being good? What is the value of meeting the greatness challenge?

It turns out that the rewards of achieving this rare level of success are enormous. Great organizations:

  • Are 50 percent more profitable than their peers.
  • Grow more than twice as fast as their peers.
  • Win the loyalty of all stakeholders, which makes it easier to continue to win in the future.

Beyond these rewards, there is something deeper and more meaningful: the reward that comes only to those who have truly paid the price to excel.

Bob Whitman,
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, FranklinCovey