The line in the sand (part 1)

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The line in the sand is both a symbol and a statement about what you are and stand for.

The line simply divides what is right and what is wrong. The line makes everything either black or white (with only a very thin line of grey in the centre).

It's about stating your vision and values, your expectations, establishing the right culture while communicating and sharing with the whole team what your business and brand stand for.

It's very important because everyone needs to know exactly what good service is and how to deliver it, what the expected behaviour or attitude is and how to meet and exceed the guest's expectations.

Drawing the line is about being clear, fair and just, consistent and a true professional. It helps create a sense of unity because everyone knows what is expected of them and where the line is. No one ever exists or succeeds in isolation and the lines draws attention to the value of everyone's contribution.

Once the line is drawn, there is no turning back (who lives by the sword dies by the sword) and anything you do must be on the right side of the line.  By that I mean everything single little details.... (Especially the details).

The line means you know what you want and have made a conscious decision to make a difference. It's the only way to differentiate you from the rest of the world. The line is the real start of your journey to excellence.

Remember however, it's a line in the sand and therefore when the tide comes in the line will disappear. And this will happen time and time again. You must be ready and prepared for the tide so that as soon as the water recedes you can draw the line again. Better still, stay in the way of the water and become the line yourself with your trusted fellow colleagues.

Some people at times do not understand the value of the line. They do not see the beauty and power of discipline and rigour. They think it constraints them when really it sets them free.

Not so long ago I explained to one of Galvin at Windows staff why discipline and rigour are so important and why we should not be afraid of it or reject it but rather embrace it.

I asked him: "Do you like music?" of which he replied immediately "Of course, music is my passion. I love it".

"Well..." I said, "If you like music then you must like discipline and rigour, for there would be no music without it. Rhythms and sounds from your favourite songs would never sound the same and discipline and rigour give you the pleasure of music. Without it there is no music-period".

He looked at me puzzled for a second and could not believe what he just heard. I could see from his eyes that he was still thinking about it. But I knew he got it, the message was understood and it now made sense to him.

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