“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”
In Part I of this series we discussed Integrity and the concept of being “whole” as a leader. In Part II we discussed Commitment and the importance of leaders being committed to others as too often we see leaders more committed to themselves than their teams or their customers (think Enron). As we said, Commitment should take many forms – commitment to your customers, to your employees, to your family, spouse, to doing the right thing, regardless of the cost – whatever your endeavor is…but commitment must be a part of your Leadership DNA. Without it you will falter, you will collapse when you are “hit” in the battle of life. Without commitment you won’t last and others will suffer alongside you.
Today we talk about Excellence. That elusive and often over-used term that implies greatness. Much has been written about excellence. Many people and organizations claim to be excellent of centers of excellence.
What does excellence mean to you? Do you strive for excellence in all you do? Is your leadership style and method bathed in excellence? Is the team you lead known for performing with excellence? Here is what I mean by excellence – I am mean striving to exceed expectations and stand-apart from the rest. Mistakes are made (no one but Jesus can claim to be mistake free) and failures occur but you and/or your team, in an effort to achieve excellence, embrace mistakes and failures as opportunities to learn and to improve.
Leading with Integrity, Commitment, and Excellence – I.C.E. – a sure-fire way to elevate your effect on the world.
As I read, participate in small businesses and interact with corporate personnel I often see excellence used principally in the context of business operations. I hope to extend your view beyond just business ops and urge you to apply excellence to everything that you do – work, play, rest – ALL of it matters and ALL of it should be done with excellence. Do you play with an attitude of exceeding expectations? That doesn’t mean that every “play session” is like a movie with fireworks and “over the top” fun but it does mean that the same energy and diligence you put into doing things well at work (e.g. planning what to do or what needs to be done) gets put into our play time – thus magnifying its effect. Who wins when that happens? Well, we do, those around us do, and our work/business efforts win because we come back to work more energized and enthusiastic! Is not the purpose of real and effective leadership to magnify the effect of those being led? I believe so with all my heart and soul. Do you strive for excellence in your rest? Do you rest? As leaders, rest is very important. If we are not rested we aren’t thinking well and therefore we aren’t performing well. All hands suffer. Many of us driven, type-A leadership fanatics convince ourselves that rest is a waste of time. I mean, what is being accomplished while I sleep?!! Well, a lot actually but that can be saved for another post! Used properly, rest can be the ultimate multiplier to our leadership efforts. Plan and execute your rest efforts with excellence and watch what happens to your leadership “returns!”
Now let me leave you with this thought. In many situations and contexts people are confused and think that great leadership means that there must be more of it. This can be suffocating and down-right counter productive. I sometimes call it – micro-management! Excellence in leadership might mean getting out of the way! Creating an environment where your team can achieve what is required of them and more because you gave them the tools they needed and then got out of the way. Excellence as leaders doesn’t mean we are everywhere all the time or that we are everything to all people. It certainly does not mean that we as leaders believe WE are critical. Excellence in leadership knows that we are merely the one’s blessed with the responsibility and opportunity to create environments where ordinary people can achieve extraordinary results – what a blessing that is for anyone trusted with a position of leadership. Excellence in leadership is both demanding and freeing. It demands much of the audience and frees them to get it done. What effect do you have on those around you? Do they feel challenged and yet alive?
Excellence – in everything we did – work, play, rest…your acts of service. Let’s be focused on excellence…we won’t achieve perfection but when we pursue excellence and aren’t satisfied with just getting by…THAT is when I believe, that your leadership will have the most effect and you will be the most engaged and fulfilled.
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