Why is excellence so elusive?
Most would state that excellence is a desirable path for everything in our lives, yet the pinnacle of excellence is one of the most elusive places in existence. Why? Excellence as it applies to everything requires unique habits and actions that are often, contrary to the habits and daily actions we have established in our personal and professional lives. Yet, we all desire and endeavor for the ideal of excellence but it remains out of reach because our habits keep it on the horizon.
I remember when I was young, I attended a six-month training course that had an Order of Merit List (OML) and your ending place on the OML had real implications for your future with the company. Additionally, the course was jam packed with high energy, ambitious and accomplished individuals. The one-word description for the course was “competition”. As the course progressed, one of my classmates, Jim, began to stand out. He was unpretentious, affable, accomplished and humble, but if you looked closer you found a man who also embodied a life of excellence. As the course progressed, Jim started to march through the tests and presentations consistently scoring at the top of the class. It did not matter how insignificant the quiz or the daily requirement, he never failed to lead the group with his performance. It became apparent his performance was habit. Excellence was the way he approached everything.
Jim and I became good friends and as I got to know him better, I began to see the characteristics that made Jim so special. Jim embraced four professional attributes that set him apart:
- Technical Competence
- Embraced Risk
Characteristics for excellence.
Technical Competence: We operated in a world requiring very good technical competence. Jim, took it to another level. He knew finite aspects of the system he managed which led to his broader understanding of the systems that influenced his system. That led to an ever-increasing understanding of the “ecosystem” of his business responsibility. Ultimately, Jim was uniquely effective in improving the operation of his system because he could negotiate changes in influencing factors outside his control.
Embraced Risk: Jim appreciated the necessity of risk when he was trying to do things better. Risk avoidance is a barrier that stops progress and excellence in all corners of our world, including in our world of heat exchanger cleaning. Jim saw risk as a necessary gate that had to be crossed for achieving a better result. He managed risk, always had alternative plans if needed, but he never shied away from risk. He knew the desired outcome was on the other side of risk, so he always crossed.
Investor: Jim constantly invested in himself, his people, and his systems. Whether it was time, money or opportunity, Jim always deployed the capital. He knew investment was the fertilizer that fed excellence. He also knew that excellence was the mother of new levels of unimagined excellence.
Persistence: Jim was never content for more than a short time. He always stepped the effort to improve, accomplish and serve his people. He never gave up on any task or venture. Sometimes he redirected his energy, but he always remained persistent. In fact, it was persistence that served as the mortar that bound together his technical competence, investment, and risk affinity. Whether the task is small or large Jim only approaches its completion through the lens of excellence. The noncompromising and disciplined approach to his day has become his most established habit.
Since I first met Jim, he has moved to higher and higher heights achieving an apex education, the top leadership role in an American corporation and national level leadership in foundations designed to empower people. Jim’s lessons are plain to see, and I find especially pertinent to the current heat exchanger cleaning and management industry that we serve.
The need for excellence in industrial heat exchanger operations.
Technology and the desire for sustainability has changed the landscape of the world of HVAC, district cooling and industrial heat exchange dramatically and has highlighted a need for a new focus on excellence. Traditionally, process stability was the only metric valued (keep the chiller running) but now process stability has been joined with efficiency mandates, improved resiliency and automation. Tube fouling is one area that can longer be lived with in organizations embracing the path of excellence. Systems like the Innovas Technologies’ Helios Tube Cleaning System solve the current limitations of heat exchanger cleaning. Maybe more importantly, the Helios provides many paths to increased excellence throughout any organization that employs chillers, shell and tube heat exchangers or condensers.
For heat exchanger cleaning Innovas Technologies provides a major step towards excellence by solving the century old problem of efficiency robbing tube fouling. The massive cost of tube fouling is undisputed and its growing so living with it, is becoming untenable. To address the problem, the Helios solves tube fouling completely. Equally important, the Helios provides a substantial steppingstone onto the path to excellence.