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David McClaskey

McClaskey Excellence Institute
Achieving 100% Excellence 100% Of The Time
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McClaskey Excellence Institute inspires, enables, and supports leaders to create extraordinary organizations through operations excellence. We teach and consult on a proven path that enables organizations of any type to go from ordinary to extraordinary operations. Extraordinary operations are where you delight your customer by delivering your products, services, and customer experience 100% to your brand specifications, 100% of the time, under 100% of the conditions. When a company has extraordinary operations, it is a win-win for all three major stakeholders: your customers; your employees; and your company. Companies with extraordinary operations have customers that are consistently delighted which can result in up to 4 times the repeat business of their competitors, highly engaged workforce that stay twice as long, AND very high levels of sustained revenue and profitability.

David McClaskey has 50 years’ experience as an executive trainer, coach, consultant, conference presenter, and Baldrige expert. David works with all types and sizes of organizations including health care, service, small businesses, government, manufacturing, education, and non-profit organizations and companies. He helps leaders use Operations Excellence, Baldrige, Lean, Customer Service, Lean Six Sigma, Strategic Planning.

In this episode

David McClaskey of the McClaskey Excellence Institute observes that two-thirds of employees are NOT engaged in their jobs. This results in your customers not getting products and services delivered so they 100% meet the brand specifications every time and not feeling welcome when they do business with your company. It also results in high manager turnover and low employee productivity due to stress and burnout. Even worse, things don't seem to be getting any better.

Too many leaders and managers accept that their products and services will at best MOSTLY meet their brand specifications MOST of the time. This means most companies' standards are designed to get the products and services wrong SOME of the time. David points out that because leaders' and managers' accept less than 100%, they get a result that’s less than 100%. The work environment is not designed for 100% execution of the approved processes. He recommends that managers provide corrective coaching every time they see a process not being precisely followed to achieve brand excellence and always meet customer expectations. David provides a 4-step implementation road map that can help any company achieve 100% excellence 100% of the time. Listen to the end to hear the details of David’s gift for our listeners.

Achieving 100% Excellence 100% Of The TimeDavid McClaskey
00:00 / 25:25

A glimpse of what you'll hear

03:06 Employers complain that their staff too often only do the minimum necessary to keep their jobs.

05:55 The underlying problem is that management doesn’t set the expectations that the work should be right every time.

08:00 Managers, not staff, are the cause of the lack of excellence.

09:55 You can actually get to a 98 or 99% level in practice while most others are in the 80% range with the right processes and expectations.

12:14 4-step implementation process to get to 100% excellence 100% of the time.

16:43 Learn about David. Email David at

Episode Transcript
(Note: this was transcribed using transcription software and may not reflect the exact words used in the podcast.)

Centricity Introduction 0:04

Welcome to the Best Kept Secret videocast and podcast where I'm centricity. If you're a b2b service professional, use our five step process to go from the grind of chasing every sale. to keeping your pipeline full with prospects knocking on your door to buy from you. We give you the freedom of time and a life outside of your business. Each episode features an executive from a B2B services company sharing their provocative perspective on an opportunity that many of their clients are missing out on. It's how we teach our clients to get executive decision makers to buy without being salesy or spammy. Here's our host, the co founder and CEO of centricity, Jay Kingley.

Jay Kingley 0:43

I'm Jay Kingley, co founder and CEO of Centricity. Welcome to our show, where our guests share their provocative perspective on what their target market is missing out on. I'm happy to welcome to the show, David McClaskey, of the McClaskey Excellence Institute, the McClaskey Excellence Institute teaches executives how to deliver products, services, and customer experience 100% to your brand specifications 100% of the time, under 100% of conditions. David is based in Johnson City, Tennessee. Welcome to the show, David.

David McClaskey 1:19

Oh, thank you, Jay.

Jay Kingley 1:21

David, one of the things that I have seen throughout my business career is when it comes to service delivery, when it comes to the expectations that we establish for our workforce, we use what I call the it's good enough metric. So we know that we're humans, we know humans make mistakes, we build that in to our expectations, we define some threshold level of performance of customer experience that we are looking to deliver. And we expect our people to meet or exceed if we're fortunate, that level of threshold expectations. And in fact, oftentimes, great managers and leaders are evaluated on how far above that baseline that we expect them to be. Now, early in my career, actually, my first real job out of college, was working for DuPont. And I was an engineer. And in that engineering world, DuPont had a slogan back in the day, and it was called minimum essential. And the idea was, what's the least you have to do to deliver? And that's what you should shoot for. So it's all consistent with this idea that you need to define what is good enough? And then you work really hard to get the entire organization to deliver on all relevant dimensions, what is good enough? What will satisfy most of the people most of the time now, David, you've been working in the area of operations and process and excellence for a long, long time. Is there anything wrong with the picture that I have painted?

David McClaskey 3:18

Jay, you've described the very typical organization. And a lot of the problems I talked to leaders all over the world, what do they hear that you would hear them saying, my employees don't do the job, right? They just don't consistently follow the processes that I have here. They don't they don't carry out the training, they don't seem to pay attention to what they're doing. In fact, they don't even always show up to work. And it seems like they come to work with they don't put their minds and hearts into it. They just sort of do enough to keep their supervisor from correcting them. And so I'm getting this sort of minimal kind of stuff. And when we see I've heard this from just about every leader, and it is a direct result of what you just said. And when you look at Gallup survey, some of the best surveys in the world. They talk about that less than 1/3 of the employees worldwide are engaged in their job, two thirds are disengaged. Or why is this when you get to the customers view? Customers, you're a customer for lots of things as we all are, we don't expect almost anything we go to we don't expect it to be right. We expect it to be almost right or at least not right enough for us not to be too aggravated. But we're not surprised when the meal isn't quite served. Right? The service isn't right, the restroom isn't clean. We have grown to just put up with all of this. Mostly right mediocracy that we experience all over the place. And it causes a lot of stress among employees. It's one of the big causes of manager turnover. They keep trying to get it right but It doesn't doesn't work.

Jay Kingley 5:01

David, one of the things that I hear a lot when you engage with employees in organizations is, to your point, they're not engaged that so many of them. And when they're not engaged, their mindset is very much a, what is the minimum I have to do to keep my job, right, they are not looking to get fired, but they are not looking to go above and beyond. And, you know, the other dynamic that you see in an organization is all the other people are looking around at their colleagues. And the ceiling of performance is the lowest level of performance that the leadership is willing to demand. So you have what I call this always this race to the bottom. Right? if Fred is getting away with it, why should I? If Mary doesn't show up for work 20% of the time, then why should I because I don't see any consequences to that level of behavior. So David, here's my question to you. Why is this happening? What's the root cause that manifests itself in these types of issues that you're talking about?

David McClaskey 6:11

And just an excellent question. And let me tell you what the root cause isn't, it isn't the people that work for you. That's where most managers go to, because they see it's the behavior of the people that work for him that they're, that they're dissatisfied with. But that's not the problem. The problem is that the managers don't expect it to be right every time, they've already set a standard of most. So now, it's just the negotiation of, of, as you said, a race to the bottom, where is the most where our management will tolerate. And we keep setting new and new levels levels for lower. So what what you find is the major cause is got nothing to do with the people that work for you. It's got everything to do with the standards that you set for your business, as you set it in the premise, the international standard of ordinary is we're going to get it mostly right most of the time. This basically says that what's really the big cause is when you say that what you really authorized for your company, as your leadership and management standard, is it's okay to get it wrong some of the time, that's actually our standard, we will be absolutely shocked if you didn't, and we're doing nothing to cause that to happen. Other than get it wrong some of the time. And this is what extraordinary companies have found is the issue is that they don't do that they say the standards, right every time.

Jay Kingley 7:34

Like you, I have always heard fingers pointing out at people. But what you're saying very insightful, is let's go back to the expectations. Let's go back to what you tell people is good performance. Let's go back to what you're telling people is the minimum performance, as opposed to what is the right level of performance. So that obviously leads to so what do you do about that? If if I'm that leader, and I'm going to wake up and say enough already with 90% 80% of standard? What's stopping me from getting 100% of the way there 100% of the time, what how do you actually make that happen, David?

David McClaskey 8:23

And the best news is, the managers are the cause. And the reason that's exceptionally good news is because the only thing anybody can correct are problems they actually caused. So the main cause is that you have to say my standard in my company, as as, as the manager and leader is that we are going to get 100% of our products, right 100% of our standards 100% of the time, that's the that's the standard. That's what we're going for. Now we understand that, even though this is our standard, and we're going to do everything possible, sometimes that's not going to happen. But it's never going to not be our target, it's never going to be acceptable to get it wrong. And that is the number one thing that organizations should be doing to make that happen. How do you make that happen? The first thing is you've got to change your own standard. The second thing is you have to get everybody lined up with the mission, you can't get people to work together unless they work towards a common mission. And you've got to get everybody aligned to it. And then you have to have processes, it is not up to your employees to figure out how to do the job to produce 100% of your brand specifications to companies, the experts in that you actually have to have it written down steps that if you actually follow them, they actually produce the product services and customer experience 100% to the brand specifications. And then you have to create an environment where employees actually choose to want to follow the approved processes.

Jay Kingley 9:49

One of the things that you alluded to that I want to mention in sort of transition into the benefits of getting this right, so you acknowledge inched that humans themselves aren't perfect. But if you don't shoot for perfection, you're going to fall massively short. So in your experience, when a company embraces sort of the methodology and mindset that you're talking about, does the things that need to be done to make it happen. How close do you get to that 100% level?

David McClaskey 10:23

You get extremely close, you start getting like 99% and 98%, where most everybody else is getting like add 85% or less, it's a huge differences that customers notice. And what you find is that instead of going into this business, and expect it to be wrong, you go into the business and expect it to be right, every time, not just not just some of the time, but every time. Now, every once in a long while, you'll find Okay, that didn't quite happen. But mostly it does happen and the customers can count on it, what you find is that employees are set up to do their job 100%, right, this gets them engaged in their work, this gets them actually wanting to come to work, because they're set up to win, they're going to be the masters of their universe, they get it right. So they don't have to wonder if their works, right, they absolutely are set up. So their work is 100%. Right? big payoff is also for the businesses. Businesses that are known for extraordinary operations can have four times, I just hit 400% more repeat business than some of their best competitors in the industry. And that can result in three times the revenue per unit that others are getting.

Jay Kingley 11:37

And I would also imagine that that's going to flow to the bottom line, because someone who can really deliver is not only going to be the market leader in terms of share, they're also going to get great prices. Because I in my experience, people pay for value. It's how people show you their appreciation for what you've done for them. And when you can go from saying 80% of the time 80% of what you do for me works. And you get that to 98, even 99%. That is a qualitative difference. That is going to totally change perceptions about you vis a vis your competitors. David, let's talk about implementation. You've really opened my eyes. This is something that I understand I've got to change my expectations. I've got to ask different questions. I've got to communicate different standards. I loved your point earlier that if you're not going to write it down, if you're not going to lay it out from people that's on you, that's not on your workforce. But take us through what are the tangible things that a company would need to do to make this happen?

David McClaskey 12:48

Let me name some of the key things that companies that are extraordinary operations do every time. First of all, their standard is 100%. This is basically every customer's key requirements need to be met with every transaction with the company. That's the requirement. That is that minimum that you mentioned, the department that says, well, we can do this every customer every time. And that's our standard, we understand that that's not going to happen. But let's see how close we can get to it. Vince Lombardi once said, perfection is unattainable. But if you shoot for perfection, you achieve excellence. That's the real key to it. And we're going to help everybody know how they add value by understanding how what everybody does any activity, they do links to serving the mission, we're going to put the why back in the business. That's That's why people come to work they can understand, and I'm not doing this just to be doing it. I'm doing this because it helps us achieve our worthy purpose. We're going to create processes, written processes that when precisely followed, they deliver the product 100% of the brand specifications every time. Most processes are designed around most because that's all anybody intended for them to happen. We're going to train people to 100% I've done this survey all over the world. Most people, most leaders and companies only training to like 80 85% of companies are externally trained 100% They set people up for 100%. And then we're going to define the expectations in black and white precise terms. And we're going to gain commitment to meeting those expectations 100% of the time. Those are some of the key things that people implement.

Jay Kingley 14:24

I think really brilliant about what you're saying goes back to how you frame the conversation. And when you're leading an organization, and you put out the questions you want people to think about. You put out your standards. That's how you're going to shape the conversation. That's how you're going to shape shape behavior. And there's a qualitative and not to mention quantitative difference between saying 80% 80% of the time for 80% of our customers is what we need, versus we need to be 100% of what it is that we offer to 100% of the customers 100% of the time. And while that's perfection, we know we're gonna land in the 98 - 99%, which is just outstanding levels of excellence. And that happens from what you're saying, because you're changing the conversation, you are changing the focus. This is brilliant stuff. We're going to take a quick break, and we come back, we're going to learn a bit more about David.

Centricity Introduction 15:36

Wondering how much longer you have to grind and chase after every lead conversation and client, would you like clients to knock on your door so you no longer have to pitch follow up and spam decision makers. While centricity is that tipping point program uses a proven five step process that will help you get in front of the decision makers you need by spending less time on doing all of the things you hate. It's not cold, calling cold email, cold outreach on LinkedIn or any other social media platform, or spending money on ads. But it has a 35 times higher ROI than any of those things, leveraging your expertise and insights that your prospects and network value. The best part even though you'll see results in 90 days, you get to work with the Centricity team for an entire year to make sure you have all the pieces in place and working. So you can start having freedom of time and a life outside of your business. So email to schedule an 18 minute call to learn more.

Jay Kingley 16:34

Welcome back, we're talking to David McClaskey, of the McCroskey Excellence Institute. Let's find out a bit more about David, let's start with the pain points that you resolve for your clients. And why do your clients need you to get rid of that pain?

David McClaskey 16:52

Basically, the clients I have or anybody that produces a repetitive product. He's talking about restaurants, you can talk about hotels, you can buy convenience stores, he talks about most of the businesses in the world, they produce products and services, and they want them to produce produce repetitively. Now now the question is how do you get this produced 100% to your brand specifications? Well, instead of this hidden miss process of there's so much advice, most of it actually doesn't work? How about going went to companies that are just routinely doing this? And to how do they really do it? And And I've learned that process, and this is what I get to teach. So I get to teach a proven path, which basically helps people running down trails that are known not to work. And so we give a proven path that actually works. And that 100% of the people that actually take our classes actually go back and implement it. And that's the real proof in the pudding. Because if people said, Look, this isn't right for us, they were they wouldn't do anything with it. And the implementation actually starts during the class. So we actually help guide during the implementation because we have class and then we have some gaps that you can implement, and then we can add more classes. And so it's it's divided up, it's all designed for implementation, and 100% of our leaders actually go back and apply it to their business.

Jay Kingley 18:16

David, this next question is going to be an absolute layup for you. And it stems from the fact that I don't know many leaders in business that want to work with people that are average, or mediocre. You know, under that old guise, you are the company you keep, you want to work with the very best, which is the whole gist of what you've been talking about during the show today. So the layup question for you is, so what is it that makes you great at what you do?

David McClaskey 18:47

And I think there's two things one is a proven path. A lot of people have theories, but they don't work in real practice. Instead, I didn't develop this. I went back and studied companies that are proven to be extraordinary operations year after year after year and say How do they do it. And studying a number of these companies, you see the pattern. So one of them is a proven path rather than a there is no theory in our class. The second is 100% implementation, most training that they convey skills acknowledges and then say it's on you, you figure whether you use it, but the very time you need the help the most is when your trainer abandon to and say no, our goal is actually on the job implementation. So everything is let's provide information, then let's give you an a guided way to use it. Then let's come back and see how it went. See what questions you have give you some more information, give you a guided chance to use it. So we can do it in small chunks and we can do it under a guided path. So this 100% implementation. Those are the two things that differentiate McClaskey Excellence Institute, from most other people that train on operations excellence,

Jay Kingley 20:01

I encourage everyone to go to David's LinkedIn profile, take a look at his experience, which is extensive, his education, his training, and I think that will augment what it is that David said about why he is so good at what he does. But David, I have a slightly different question for you. Share with us what has happened in your life that would most explain why you do what you do today?

David McClaskey 20:28

Well, Jay, I think many times in my life, I've tried to do things and failed, and then tried to get and failed and tried again and failed, and three outcomes seem to occur from that one of these, you just quit it, okay, I'm not going to do it. Second is you wind up failing enough that you figured out how to do it. And so that's a pretty painful type of journey. The third route is somebody who actually knew how to do it told you how, and so you find, wow, I wish I would have known that in the first place. And it would have gotten me down a path I should have done and got me there more efficiently. Now, what I found in my my chosen profession, which is helping any kind of business be extraordinary, when I found was that that's what was happening out there. Basically, people were trying to do things and failing, and and in those, those three things would happen. A lot of them would just quit trying. That's why so many organizations are just ordinary, it's not that leaders haven't tried to be extraordinary. They've tried and failed, and finally given up and said, Well, the reason everybody else is here is because that's the best we can do. And kind of said, What can we do to give proven paths? And so instead of just given theories that well look, it's on you to figure it out, went back and said, What can we really do to remove that pain point and say, here's a proven path, it's actually proven to work. Now you have to decide how you're going to implement it in your business. But but the path is proven, so that we can avoid these this either repetition and all this pain that causes our or most people just quitting being excellent. And it is such a joy, I can tell you that I have so many leaders that have said, you know, I had about given up doing this, it is such a pleasure to actually succeed. And one person said, you know, people all around him, Can I have this high standard? They've told me it's no good, you can't do that in the real world. You never can accomplish it. It's so nice to find out. Not only can you accomplishment, accomplish it, but there's a proven path to get there. And that's what really motivates me keeps me going,

Jay Kingley 22:36

David, you have challenged us to go from ordinary to extraordinary. And as you said, there is a proven pathway that will get you on that journey. I am sure we have many people in our audience, our listeners, who would like to explore that with you, in more detail, what is the best way for people to reach out to you?

David McClaskey 22:58

The best way for people to reach out for me is is either on my website, which is, or to email me directly, which is And those, those are the two best ways to get

Jay Kingley 23:11

a hold of me, I will put that into the show notes. And it's an insert into the video to make it easy for everyone to reach out. You know, David, as I said, just really challenging the status quo really challenging. I think this idea that we should be satisfied with something that's less than the best. And I think for a lot of leaders, it's a trade off that they feel that they've had to make, because they didn't know how else to do it. But it's not one that they really want to make. And you have really I think opened up a lot of people's thinking that there is a better way that you don't have to sacrifice. You don't have to settle for mediocrity. And speaking of which you have been anything but a mediocre guest you have been fabulous. You bring a wealth of insight, really challenging how we look at this very important issue. And I know that, you know, look, the world of shows of podcasts videocasts. It's very competitive. And it's all about the quality of the guests that you get your extraordinary yourself. I know that many of my colleagues that have their own shows they would die to have you as a guest. And this is when they would be doing their celebration dance. They'd be saying got this interview done. It's in the books. Yay, me. Right, what a coup. And while everyone else would play that game, David, I am inspired by your call to excellence. And I'm now going to hold you to that standard. Because I'm saying as great as you were, I think we can get just a little more from you to benefit my customers who are the audience who listens to this great show. So David, I'm going to put you on the spot here. And I'm going to say, I'd like you to offer a little sweetener, a little inducement. Let's call it a gift to our audience in return for their time and attention today. What can you do for him?

David McClaskey 25:23

Okay, Jay, since you've challenged me, let me do something here. For people that tell me that they've heard this Best Kept Secrets podcast, I will give them 15 minutes of free consulting that we can talk about operations excellence related to their business, and I will do that. The tried up the game now as that met the challenge, Jay,

Jay Kingley 25:44

David, I thank you. That's the type of thing that I'm looking for. And I'm going to tell you, and I expected it, because you have challenged me to raise my expectations. So reach out to David and his email address. Tell him you heard him on the Best Kept Secret show and ask him to that you would like to redeem that gift. David, I want to thank you for being such an amazing guest and being very generous to my audience. Let's continue to crush it out there. Until next time.

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