Ronnie Oldham's Core Values

Excellence

"Tentative efforts lead to tentative outcomes. Therefore give yourself fully to your endeavors. Decide to construct your character through excellent actions and determine to pay the price for a worthy goal. The trials you encounter will introduce you to your strengths. Remain steadfast… and one day you will build something that endures; something worthy of your potential."
                                                                                               Epictetus,
                                                                                                                             Roman Teacher and Philospher 55-135 A.D.

    Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible. It is the commitment to high quality performance that produces outstanding results of lasting value. Excellence is believing in continuous improvement and never being satisfied with anything being less than it can be. It is quality as a way of life.

    Like most people, I learned early in youth the practical application of excellence. Doing a good job would often result in praise. I liked being noticed for my performance and I felt a sense of pride in my accomplishments. After enlisting in the Air Force, I found that excellence in some endeavors could shield me from the negative repercussions of deficiencies in others. Using this knowledge to my advantage, I routinely tested my personal limits and those imposed upon me. My reputation for outstanding job performance served me well as counterweight to a somewhat cavalier attitude toward traditional military expectations, but excellence never really became a real core value until I was assigned to Master Sergeant Joseph Champagne.

    Joe Champagne almost certainly has no idea of the significance of his impact on my life, particularly upon my core value of excellence. Sergeant Champagne spent most of his military career preparing military correspondence as a highly recognized orderly room clerk, administrator, and typist. As my supervisor, he sought to fine-tune my office skills by demanding complete accuracy on all correspondence. After carefully preparing an extremely professional-looking document, I would anxiously present it for his approval. Before looking at my work, he would often offer to wager whether he could find any errors. Of course, he could always find a legitimate error and I would have to eat crow. I found this quite troubling. After all, if he could consistently produce that level of quality with a manual typewriter, I should certainly be able to do as well with modern word processors and daisywheel printers. Eventually, I learned how to be meticulous and comprehensive enough to meet Sergeant's Champagne's standards of quality. I came to cherish the idea of something being the best that it can be and that I could make that excellence happen.

    Excellence continues to be a trademark for me as I re-enter the world of business. My exposure to Total Quality Management, ISO 9000 quality standards, and Vision 2000 programs has heightened my awareness of my pursuit of excellence. I will strive to emulate the standards Stanley Neiman of Neiman Marcus, proposed in his book Quest for the Best. As a businessman, I will constantly seek what Frank and Lillian Gilbrath referred to as "The one best way."

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Copyright Ronnie Oldham 1998.  All rights reserved.
Revised: April 01, 2011.

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