buffalo wild wings just opened a new store around the corner from me this week. the restaurant looks the same as any other BW3 i’ve been to in various locations, cities, and states. the wings taste the same, the food came out in the same amount of time, and i was greeted with the same level of service as any other store despite my particular restaurant being in its nascent stages.

it’s perfectly predictable.

predictability is great for scale: make things as simple as possible, as easily repeatable as possible, and standardize as much as can be possibly standardized in order to provide consistent results. people appreciate consistency.

but predictable is rarely ever exceptional. to be exceptional requires a bit of improvisation—a bit of artistry—to take things in an unexpected, yet delightful, direction. the best of our organizations realize this fact. they realize the only way to scale up exceptional is to scale the number of artists in their ranks, and hold on tightly to the ones they have.