Who wouldn’t want their team to exhibit excellent work? The main reason I see managers complain about the quality of work produced by their teams is because we rarely talk about what excellence looks like and how we would know if it actually occurred.
People make individual choices about what to do and how to do it based on two things; their understanding of expectations of quality and their intrinsic motivations.
So how do we define ‘excellence’? Imagine that your team is performing at the top of its game, to its true potential. What would you see people doing? What communication is taking place? What time issues are people dealing with? What happens when they confront problems? How are they showing creativity? What does it look like when projects exceed expectations to clients and customers? How are people learning from their experiences?
You could put answers to these questions down on paper, and then ask your team to add to it so you all create a vision of excellence, one that can be agreed and committed to by all.
Here are some examples of excellence that you can build on:
As you see, this is a journey. Imagine what it will feel like when you reach the destination. Imagine the impact on your team and its results as they all follow the example of excellence. Gone will be the lame excuses. No more ‘it-will-do’ attitudes. Less time spent moaning and groaning about things out of their control.
The possibilities and potential results are many-fold. It just takes one person to make the decision that ‘excellence will be the norm round here’. Let that person be you.
Head of Training
(Image by Arvind Balaraman)
Don’t think that Excel is just a spreadsheet.
To excel at something is a pinnacle of achievement. Personal mastery begins with a vision of what you want to achieve in your life or at work. Some of us may have goals and objectives, but these aren’t really visions. Visions inspire us. Goals are just stepping stones.
Having a personal vision to excel at something is about a desire to apply a certain sense of purpose to something that has real meaning to us. Whatever your drive to achieve, it is about wanting something passionately because of who you will become when you achieve it.
Personal mastery is about taking personal responsibility for making something happen. It’s a journey we take when we realise we are responsible for mastering our own destiny.
You may recall Peter Senge’s words in The Fifth Discipline: “Personal mastery goes beyond competence and skills, although it is grounded in them. It means approaching your life as a creative work, living life from a proactive rather than reactive standpoint. People with a high level of personal mastery are continuously expanding their ability to create the results in life they truly seek.”
Once we have a vision of what we want to excel at, what separates the achievers from the dreamers is a willingness to commit to action in pursuit of the vision. As the saying goes, “You can achieve whatever is most important to you in this world, as long as you are prepared to forgo whatever is second most important.” The choice may not be that obvious to you, but personal mastery does demand a certain single-mindedness.
Once you commit energy and resources to becoming what you want to become, you will find you become automatically more alert to opportunities to develop your skills and achieve your vision. Your brain’s reticular activating system will kick in to make you consciously aware of those opportunities and help you achieve those goals on the route to the vision.
Remember…personal mastery teaches us to choose. Choosing is an act of courage, picking the results and actions that you will turn into your destiny.
Looking to make the most of what you have and excel at it is a good life-strategy because it gives you the best chance of long-term success in the global economic marketplace. Don’t allow others to dictate how your life is going to turn out. And don’t complain that the world isn’t devoting itself to making you happy!
Take the necessary actions that will help you achieve your goals and, ultimately, your visions. Not long ago, adequacy was enough to get you by. Today, mediocrity is on the road to the scrapheap.
Take steps to enhance you career and life. Choose to excel. Decide what you want to master. And create the necessary steps to take you there.
Head of Training
(Image by Renjith Krishnan)