In my daily travels I used to pass by a sign that read, "567 days without a lost time accident." The total, of course, would change every day, and I remember wondering how long it was really possible to go, no matter how safe the company made the processes. How high is up when it comes to performance?
How do you know what you're doing now?
In a company that positions itself on the basis of quality service I asked someone how quickly they respond to quotes. They gave me a time frame. Then I asked what percent of the time they deliver on time and they didn't know. It's not something they are tracking.
This isn't an uncommon phenomenon. We're talking about what we're doing (or not doing) but we're not measuring it. Therefore performance quality and performance potential become questions of opinion, not of data, creating the potential for unnecessary blaming, complaining, and chasing of wild geese.
What assumptions are you making about how high you can go?
Are you assuming that your processes will remain the same? That people won't be willing to do things differently? That there's no better way to accomplish your goals? That the big cheese won't consider your improvement ideas? That you won't be able to do any better, so why bother?
What if you knew you couldn't fail?
What would you attempt? How would you test yourself to see just how much performance you could develop in yourself and your company? Just like success isn't a destination, but rather a journey, failure isn't permanent unless you take your ball and go home - unless you quit.
Isn't the possibility of that blue sky worth the attempt?