I have the sickness.  That drive to always want to make something better.  One of the most satisfying feelings I experience does not come with a, “job well done”.  It is when something is done with excellence.

Each year I get the opportunity to train 1,000 new summer staff with our organization.  I not only want them to grasp the concept of excellence, but also for it to be ingrained deep within them.  It needs to become an operating system of sorts.

For myself and others, we remember what Paul tells the church in Colossians 3:23,24…

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive an inheritance as your reward.  You are serving the Lord Christ.”

This verse should drive us.  But to help put legs on the concept, I go back to an old story about high expectations set from some leadership.

Remember the movie from 20 years ago, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?“?  With that movie came a big step in cinematography.  It was the first time that animation met real time video in a movie.  As the story goes, in the post production of the movie, the producers wanted more from the animators for one particular scene.


In the scene, the character bumps his head on a hanging lamp. At first, there were no shadows cast by this new swinging lamp.  Once caught, the animators spent countless hours fixing their error.  The audience may never have noticed the missing shadows.  “Bump the Lamp” became the Disney nickname for making things right down to the detail.  To see the scene, click here.

We use this phrase, “Bump the Lamp”, to remind us to aim for the 2% of people.  Most people, or 98% of people, won’t notice the excellent parts of what we do, but don’t aim for them.  We aim for the 2%.

Here are a few examples I consider to be “Lamp Bumpers”:

1) Morton’s The Steak House – Yes, they have good steaks, but there are 2 aspects that stuck out to me the most the last time I ate at one of their steak houses:

  1. Crumb scraping:  After the initial meal, how they pull out the little crumb scraper and “clean” off the table.  Gives it a fresh feel.
  2. Attitude of the server:  Last time I was there, my server asked if I wanted dessert.  I commented how I was stuffed from the great steak.  He quickly responded, “Of course, sir, it’s Morton’s.”

2) Great Wolf Lodge Lifeguards – If you have ever been to one of these Lodges, then you might have noticed what I am talking about.  Of course, these lodges are built around these mega indoor water parks, which means they better get the safety aspect right.  I love the way these lifeguards don’t sit in a chair looking bored and uninterested.  They are constantly moving, walking around “patrolling” the waters.

As a dad of 4 right now, I loved the attention to detail.  I stopped one of the guards and asked.  Sure enough, they are required to move around.  I love that.  Keep moving.  Stay awake.  Kids’ lives depend on it.

3) In-N-Out Burger – Only found in a few states right now, this fast food chain is incredible.  The restaurants are always clean, the attitudes of the staff are great, and I’ve seen charts on the walls listing out how safe their staff have been.  Not to mention, I love their food.  They give new definition for “fast food”.

If people can be excellent at lifeguarding, fast food or steaks, then we can be sharper as we share the great news of Jesus.  We should be eager to serve, not just able and willing.  It shouldn’t be about us…ever.  Whatever we do, let’s do it with excellence.

So are you one to notice those details?  If you are part of the 2%, give me a few examples.  What have you seen that totally impressed you?

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