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Expectations of Excellence: The underlying key to our 20 years of success

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Sep 26, 2017 • Eric Morgenstern • Blog

Thought Leadership



20 years. Wow. We are both proud and humbled, as we reach our 20th anniversary.  

Shanny and I founded Morningstar Communications on October 1, 1997, with a clear focus and vision:  

We help leaders CLARIFY their message, CONNECT with the people who matter most, and CHANGE attitudes and behaviors. 

Clarify, connect, change. It sounds simple, but it’s not.

We all live in a world that doesn't trust traditional sources. A world where every day, we are bombarded with thousands of messages. A world where people no longer truly read (we tend to skim and scan).

Against this backdrop, we have helped hundreds of businesses and organizations strengthen and grow. How, you might ask? Our team embraces our core approach of "Expectations of Excellence."

I have shared this construct with thousands of people over the years. Every employee and intern. Most clients. And lots of audiences who have heard me deliver a keynote.

Using a computer analogy, we describe Expectations of Excellence as the "operating system" of our business. The "programs" are the products and services we provide, including strategy, content marketing and executive counsel.

Building and Sustaining Excellence on Your Team

Expectations of Excellence provides clear and concise answers for all colleagues to know, "What does it really mean to say I'm empowered?" We use this five-part approach to building and sustaining a team of excellence:

  1. Hire excellent people.
  2. Empower them.
  3. Be there when they need help.
  4. Otherwise, stay out of their way.
  5. And sing their praises!

Customized for your organization, I’m confident it will work for you too.

Four Keys to Excellence

We believe there are four key components of Expectations of Excellence, and they build upon each other:

  1. It all starts with Knowledge. What you really know. You must be smart, know your industry, business, and your clients' business. Obviously, if you're not smart, it’s hard to be excellent.
  2. The next step is Perspective. This is how well you "see" each situation and various viewpoints. Perspective helps you connect the dots all the way through to the conclusion. It enables you to identify and overcome barriers.
  3. The third component is Personal Qualities. Who you really are at your core. Creative. Persistent. Accountable. Ethical. Collaborative. These and many more make you an excellent person.
  4. Finally, in the end, it’s all about Interpersonal Relations. How well do you work with others? Does everyone want you on their team? Are you thankful? Realistic? Helpful? Are you the teammate others want in their foxhole during the tough times?

When combined, these Expectations of Excellence have been the key for us to build and sustain our culture, which in turn allows us to build and strengthen our client relationships. 

We have many long-term client relationships. One person has hired us at four different places (that's a record!). We have so many friends, fans, alums, connections ... we are truly blessed to attain this milestone because we've connected with so many great people.

I'm often asked, "What is the key to building a successful firm?" I nod, knowingly, quietly lean-in and whisper, "surround yourself with excellent teammates and work for excellent clients."  Some secret, eh?

This approach has worked for our first 20 years, and I'm certain it will continue to work well for us into the future.

With deep, heartfelt appreciation to so many who have given us their faith and trust. We will always focus on excellence, as we help our clients attain ever greater heights.

Thank you all. Onward ...

Bonus content: Read Eric’s blog post featuring 18 lessons learned from our first 18 years.