The tarnished Sword of Excellence

Many years ago, one of our biggest clients was Thomas Cork SML, later to become Cork International. They supplied merchandised ranges and latterly books to all of the major retailers.

In their reception area was a huge mission statement stating they were working towards and living excellence in everything they did. It was joined by the remarkable sword of excellence that took pride of place behind the receptionist’s desk.

We always wondered whether anyone in the organisation knew these values, understood these values or ever ‘lived’ them. Having asked most of the team, we became pretty convinced that no-one did.

They quietly went out of business in 2004 due to ‘financial difficulties’.

You can see in this historic article that they were already through a Total Quality Management (TQM) programme.

But what this proves is that its all very well having values and even writing them in huge letters in your reception.

But the key to any brand, to any organisational culture is to embed and live those values in everything you do.

Thomas Cork, never did and they disappeared. The tarnished sword of excellence lives on however and it is a great reminder to all of us to walk the walk as well as talk about it.

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