Defining and Modelling Excellence


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:

  • Teams are focused on what’s most important, clear on priorities and know how their work ties into corporate and departmental goals
  • Team members feel challenges and important. Communication is focused and open. They are driven by their internal drivers of excellence and accomplishment
  • Time is used wisely. Meetings are held only when necessary, not because it’s a certain time of the day or week. People want to contribute ideas and are encouraged to be creative
  • You make sure your people aren’t buried beneath tons of projects and they have time to devote to quality rather than quantity
  • Your department knows how to serve the best interests of internal as well as external customers
  • Everyone recognises that change is the only constant. You recognise your role involves helping the team become comfortable with changing environments driven by progress and customer needs
  • You model excellence in all you do, not allowing prejudices and favouritism to bounce you off course. People respect you for your integrity and you don’t say things behind people’s backs that you wouldn’t say to their face. You are trustworthy and reliable.

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.

Many thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training

(Image by Arvind Balaraman)

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Mark-WilliamsMark Williams

Mark Williams is a learning and development professional, using business psychology and multiple intelligences to create fascinating and quickly-identifiable learning initiatives in the real-world business setting. Mark’s role at MTD is to ensure that our training is leading edge, and works closely with our trainers to develop the best learning experiences for all people on learning programmes. Mark designs and delivers training programmes for businesses both small and large and strives to ensure that MTD’s clients are receiving the very best training, support and services that will really make a difference to their business.