Insights & News

​Excellence Sometimes Means Fixing the Problem (And Saying You’re Sorry)

Posted On July 31, 2017

There are times when things just do not go the way you had planned.

Recently, we had one of those experiences. It’s a long story, and we’ll spare you most of the details, but the best way to describe it is that a project we were working on didn’t meet our client’s expectations. The client had a right to be upset. Our performance didn’t meet their standards. And frankly, our performance did not meet our internal standards, which we define with one word: Excellence.

As we’ve written before, at Flat World Holdings “Excellence” is defined by the way we treat one another, the way we give back and contribute to our community, and—especially important in this instance—the service we provide customers. That means that if our commitment to excellence is going to be more than just a slogan, we have to apologize when results don’t meet expectations. And that’s what we did.

When the client notified our team that expectations weren’t being met, we sent senior leadership and staff from our headquarters in Missouri to the customer’s location in Texas to ensure the problem got solved. We made sure our client knew that a commitment to excellence is a commitment to fix our mistakes, and to make our clients feel like they receive the service and responsiveness that justifies being called excellent. When things go wrong, a commitment to excellence can end up being expensive. In this instance, correcting our mistakes turned a profitable project into an unprofitable project. That’s okay though, because it gave our company an opportunity to test our principles.

In life and in business, it’s easy to make a commitment to acting with integrity and doing the right thing—so long as your principles never come with a cost. In other words, it’s easy to have integrity when integrity is free. It’s easy to say you believe in excellence when excellence means telling your customers about all the great things your team has accomplished.Of course, we don’t want to make saying we’re sorry a regular occurrence. That’s not because of our pride. It’s because we want to learn from our mistakes. Businesses are run by human beings, and human beings aren’t perfect.

What’s important is to fix a mistake and learn from the experience. While the mistake is painful, resolving and learning from failure strengthens your organization and further elevates your standard of excellence. That’s exactly what happened here. In the end our team completed the projected and delivered exactly what the customer was looking for, and more. When you work with us for your supply chain, freight forwarding, custom crating, hospitality project management, or transportation management needs in the future, know this: If we aren’t meeting your standards and our own expectation of excellence, we will make it right. You will learn that at Flat World Holdings the word “Excellence” isn’t just a slogan.

It’s a promise to our customers.

And it’s a promise we will keep, even in the (very rare) instance that things don’t come together the way a client had hoped, and excellence comes at a cost to us. That’s the commitment we make to our customers. And it’s a commitment we make to ourselves.