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Key Idea: Commit to Quality

Hattie takes us inside Texas Nameplate, twice winners of the Baldrige Award, then on to meet Mike Neary of Oregon Log Home; they won industry awards for quality and imagination.
More about Texas Nameplate...    More about Oregon Log Homes...

Key Question:


Small business owners know we don't have much room for error. Our customers are depending upon us to do what we say we will do. Winning the business in the first place is hard, and it is very smart not to loose business because of lapses in quality. The way to stay in business is to deliver consistent quality to the customer. Dale Crownover got into a quality improvement program because a customer suggested he do so. At Oregon Log Homes, logs are hand stripped and crafted to specifications drawn on computers. To guarantee near perfection, Mike builds each home on his lot first. Laurie Snyder won the business of L.L. Bean because they love her quality. At PING Golf, perfection is the corporate mantra.

Q: How do you know if your product is good enough?

A: The customers will tell you. However, the best business owners improve the product even when the customer is already happy. You must keep asking yourself: "How can I make this better?" You can never rest; you can never stop thinking; you can never stop improving. The minute you do, someone will take your customers away from you.

Henry Chin told us that Ziba Design is good at what they do because they all strive for perfection. That is the quality they're pushing in themselves and for the company.

The Anglican Rev. John Wesley based an entire theology around a doctrine of Christian perfection and an entire denomination evolved as a result.

Yet, we certainly all fall short of being perfect and the quantum physicists among us know that there is an inherent chaos deep within the fabric of things. So, we are relegated to perfect moments -- flashes of insight or bliss or knowing.

We grow up learning the basic comparative analysis -- good, better, best -- but what is the best? Can anything ever be perfect?

A: Sohrab Vossoughi, founder of Ziba Design, would answer, "No, you know it can be done better." At Ziba, they challenge themselves to constantly take the next step on the road to perfection. Just as they know it will never be totally and in every way perfect, they know they can always do better.

This is a subject near and dear to the heart of our executive producer, Bruce Camber. He has made a study of the physics and theology of perfected states for over 25 years. He found that throughout all of science and all religions, each in some manner shares the three conditions that define the continuum of perfection.

This is what he has found:
1. The most simple perfection is order; here there are continuity conditions.
2. A higher perfection is defined by a relation and here that relation is experienced as a symmetry.
3. A transformative perfection is within real time; it is a dynamic moment that is experienced as harmony.

Along that continuum, the possibilities approach infinity for higher or transformative perfections. Or, as your Mom always said, "There is always room for improvement."

Think about it

Is your business the best that it can be? Is it getting better with every product or service it delivers? Have you created an environment in your company where your team constantly strives for perfection? How do you measure quality? What quality controls do you have in place now? What quality controls would you like to have?

Clip from: Staying Power

Key Questions about business: What makes a business work?  Why do some make it while so many fail?  And, in the USA, why are there so many business start-ups every year?  How does a business make it beyond the first year? ...third year? ...and fifth year? These are benchmarks. Milestones. Most startups do not get past them.

So, when these veteran entrepreneurs answer the question, "How did you do it?," there is a lot to learn.

This television special outlines the common qualities found in companies that make profits for decades.

Go to all the key ideas and video of this episode...
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Texas Nameplate

Dale Crownover, Owner

1900 E. Ervay
Dallas, TX 75215

Visit our web site:

Office: 2144288341

Business Classification:

Year Founded:

Commit to Quality

HATTIE: Number 5. Consistent Quality

Small business owners don't have much room for error. It's hard to get the business and it's shortsighted to lose it over lapses in quality. So, by all means, if you want staying power, deliver consistent quality. Texas Nameplate won the Texas Quality Award then went on to be the smallest company ever to win the Malcom Baldrige award.

DALE: The criteria which we have applied with our people is that you don't focus on results. And a lot of people want to jump into results. We look at approach and we looked at your deployment. If you work on the right approach, and you execute that properly, you will get the results.

EMPLOYEE: Everything is supposed to be exact and correct. So, if this isn't correct, I send it back.

HATTIE: So it's checked, double checked. Checked, double checked.

DALE: You will see even in our process of making nameplates, when it gets to the final--to the shipping, we do not have to inspect them. They have to just weigh them because the process, as you said, has been in control. (more)

MIKE NEARY: This will be two story, this is the loft above.

HATTIE: Mike Neary builds custom log homes. Logs are hand-stripped and crafted to specifications drawn on computers. To guarantee near perfection, he assembles each home on his lot first.

MIKE: This is an extremely difficult piece and if there's something out of whack, like 1/8th inch, 1/4 inch, you know you gotta be there.

HATTIE: You don't want strangers cutting on your logs.

MIKE: No, no. We try to eliminate that.

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