I’m happy to admit it: I’m a foodie. Not only is my wife an amazing cook, but one of my sons is a classically trained chef—and thanks to him, I have had the pleasure of dining all over the world, including at many Michelin-star restaurants. Usually, when I go out to eat, I simply relax and enjoy the meal. Every now and then, though, I can’t help but relate the experience I’m having to the work I do at SencorpWhite.

That’s what happened last month when I found myself having dinner in a hotel restaurant in Mendrisio, Switzerland. It was a slow Monday night in a relatively out-of-the-way location, so to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t expecting much. But this unassuming restaurant, surrounded by the hills and mountains of the Swiss countryside, surprised me… and left me eager to apply what I learned when I got back to the office.

In a nutshell, my dining experience was amazing. The food was spectacular, and the service was impeccable. In fact, this place was as good, if not better, than some Michelin-star restaurants I’ve been to. What made this particular meal so great? I can sum it up in one word: passion. Clearly, the chef had the training to execute to perfection. Beyond that, he was also inventive, taking the ordinary to extraordinary with every course. In addition, everyone on the staff aimed to please. They truly seemed to care and executed to the best of their ability, even
on a routine Monday night in the middle of August.

What were my takeaways from this dinner?

  • Excellence can be found anywhere. You may believe your product or service is the best in the world, but remember, the world is a big place.
  • Skills are essential. If you want to be the best, you simply can’t “fake it.” Skills are paramount when producing a world-class product, and you need to know your team is up to the task. Yes, training programs cost time and money, but the investment is worth it.
  • Creativity sets you apart. While skills are fundamental, it’s creativity that differentiates you from your competition. Keep innovating—it helps you better meet your customers’ needs, grab more market share and even attract the best talent.
  • Passion and teamwork pull it all together. Speaking of talent, you must have a team that cares. If you want to be not only the best but the best of the best, your team must pay attention to every detail. Nothing should be overlooked. The smallest slipup can turn what should be an exceptional experience (or product) into something that’s only average.
  • We compete in a global marketplace. Just to underscore my first point, you may believe you are the best, but in some out-of-the-way place, there could very well be a competitor that has the skill, creativity, drive, and passion to embarrass you. Stay agile and keep your
    eyes open.

From manufacturing and packaging to food service and hospitality, a commitment to excellence is key. As CEO, my job is to inspire that kind of passion, to the benefit of our customers and our company as a whole.