Pursuit of Excellence: Win with Great Products

Today’s world has too much stuff in it. And too much stuff that isn’t made well, that we throw away, that is made for obsolescence, that is made without passion, that is made to sell at a low price, that is made to gain a buck, that is made because you can make, that is made to feed our desire for more.

Why not focus on quality over quantity? Celebrate making products the right way, with care, commitment, and a focus on quality and greatness?

I loved reading this post by Seth Godin, in which he encourages us to simply, “Make great stuff,” rather than focus on the tricks that lead to success.

I’m finally reading Creativity, Inc.by Ed Catmull, President of Pixar and Disney Animation, and loving learning how Pixar has had a singular focus on excellence and “making something great.” Catmull writes in the book that John Lasseter coined the phrase, “Quality is the best business plan.” Hear, hear. He also shares that Steve Jobs wanted to make “insanely great products.” I think we can all agree that Apple has lived up to that promise.

Lands’ End just came on my radar, as well, for more broadly communicating its values for making great products and guaranteeing their quality.

The company says on its website:

The Lands’ End guarantee has always been an unconditional one. It reads: “If you’re not satisfied with any item, simply return it to us at any time for an exchange or refund of its purchase price.” We mean every word of it. Whatever. Whenever. Always. But to make sure this is perfectly clear, we’ve decided to simplify it further: Guaranteed. Period.®

It’s more than a return policy. It’s a promise we’ve kept for over 50 years now, to stand behind every product we make and every service we deliver.

Lands’ End is advertising its long heritage and commitment to product, its people, the environment, and the community. It’s just the type of company we like to support.

Making great products has more meaning for those who create and build them and for those who bring them into their lives. Globalization has commoditized goods across the world, creating a level of “sameness” and often a lack of quality. Pursuing excellence can be more rewarding, by making truly unique, great products with purpose, intention, and integrity. Building meaning into these products that can last can fuel the movement towards conscious consumption, a valuing of quality over quantity, of greatness over just stuff. It’s another way that business can make a positive impact on the world, rather than being focused solely on the bottom line.

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