Excellence is Created, Not Demanded
Excellence is something so many business owners and leaders automatically expect from their team, but does the team know what excellence looks like in the first place? What makes us think that people have been taught how to be excellent?
When you’re not spending time with your team, showing them what excellence looks like and teaching them about excellence, then they’re going to do the best that they know how.
Where did they learn their level of excellence? From those that came before them (parents, friends, teachers, former leaders, etc.) They bring their concept of excellence to your organization, so if you want more than that, be sure to check what you expect.
How excellence is created in your business:
- Create a culture of excellence by teaching excellence.
- Point out & recognize excellence on a regular basis.
- Jump on things when they’re not excellent.
Jumping on problems does not mean taking peoples heads off. Instead, show them what’s wrong, explain it, and let them understand why it’s wrong while treating them with dignity.
If you can do this, your team will start having buy-in and taking ownership. This will, in turn, lead to your team taking care of your customers better. When that happens, excellence shows up!
Start this week by pointing out where you’ve seen excellence in the building.
People do what they’re rewarded for, and they will repeat what’s rewarded – so find something!
Point out where a team or a person has been excellent, and spend time explaining why it’s so important. Try it from a, “Hey, if we continue to do this, we continue to take care of each other,” approach. Think crusade mentality.
Put a process in place so people have the ability to point out how other team members are being excellent. Encourage your team brag on each other!
Make sure you’re continuing to share this message with everyone. If you will do this, people will go out of their way to be excellent.
Also, point out what lack of excellence looks like. Don’t call out individuals specifically at your meetings (do that one-on-one, with care), but take time to point out how you’ve seen another company provide bad service and how it impacted you.
Excellence can’t be demanded, but it can be created.
Make it part of your culture! When you create excellence in your culture, when you focus on what it takes to teach people, train people, and be an example, your team will be excellent.
Question: Who taught you to be excellent?
How To Become A Leader Worth Following
Jim Collins On Making Decisions
27 thoughts on “Excellence is Created, Not Demanded”
For some reason I am thinking of the love “Ghost” now….
I learned excellence from mostly people I have never met. I didn’t have parents who strived for greatness. Or any teachers who pushed me. And for most of adulthood, I have been an entrepreneur, so I’ve only worked for two leaders..and one sucked.
So I learned to strive for excellence from books, videos, and yes, even television. Zig Ziglar, Tny Robbins, Eric Thomas, Jim Rohn and other speakers plus athletes such as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Mike Tyson.
I know, Matt! I thought of that same scene! I’ll never look at Chris the same.
That was definitely an interesting choice for an image…
I went there for a second, but then Leslie Nielsen’s parody of the scene came to mind…
I love this, Chris.
When coaching others on excellence – Don’t let it go unrecognized.
When coaching others on lack of excellence – Don’t let it go unrecognized.
To tie this in to your last post: Managers demand excellence, and Leaders create teams that can’t do anything but excellent work.
I’m on a mission, to create excellence in my own circle, team, and life, and to point it out where others are doing the same.
I have to thank my dad and my mom for having taught me what excellence looks like. They both always pointed out how I did something well, and how to do it even better. My dad was relentless on work ethic and performing at an outstanding level to the point where he built a solid career in a Fortune 100 company with a high-school degree and some training as a computer analyst. My teachers always encouraged me to go from A to A+ and my leaders at work have coached me and helped me grow. Had it not been for all these people, I would be completely lost. As a leader, my current job is to be the “excellence police”, showing people good examples of what we are striving for to wow our client.
Excellence police! Sounds like a good job for Lily!!!
Needed to read this today. Thanks
I’ve heard for years “You must demand excellence from your team!” Uh, yeah. No. That’s the easy way out for a leader. The harder but more impactful route is to create it. I had a few professors in college who first taught me to be excellent and have many friends since then who have modeled it well.
Modeling is really the key there – sounds like you had some great professors?
My dad taught me to be excellent. He did his work, did it well, and kept on going.
There’s been very few of my official leaders in my business life that have taught me excellence. It’s business as usual until their superiors came.
I’ve learned that’s not excellence. It’s doing a half-baked job.
Joe, interesting how we can learn from examples that are contrary – the absence of excellence can teach quite a bit about it as well!
That’s right Jon. We can take the bad examples we’ve had in life and learn what not to do. It’s the anti-model.
Agreed Jon! I learn just as much from bad examples as anything else!!
My father and some key mentors I have had in my life!
Working for the family business my dad has always set a great example of excellence, not by his demands rather by the way he goes about his work. I find it enjoyable to work in that type of atmosphere.
I’m late to the party here, but I had to comment on this…
I run into this situation more often than I’d like. Being in a technical industry, I see this all the time. Leaders somehow think that by pushing people, constantly showing them where they are wrong, and telling them to do better, that somehow they will get better results. Really??
Running on a flat tire is only going to tear it up!
Teaching excellence in every detail, recognizing excellence that already exists, and most importantly reminding people how excellence ties into the mission is how you do that.
It’s sad how often people try to motivate with negativity.
Great post. Many have taught me what excellence looks like. Because of this my idea of excellence is changing and morphing. Something freeing telling your team grow with me as I grow.
When trying to create excellence, re-enforcing excellent behavior verbally is important, but we also need to make sure that our actions match our words. I’ve seen it happen too many times where a manager (term used on purpose) gives some sort of praise, but then treats the employee (again, term used on purpose) like their input, ideas, and needs are not important. The words of praise become a joke and distrust begins to grow. The employee becomes demoralized – which then spreads through the rest of the team.
I’ve probably done this same thing without realizing it. As I’m getting ready to start a new school year, I’m going to work at being more intentional and consistent. This is one area to work on.
I have so many people that have taught me to be excellent…and several have taught me by their BAD example.
You’re so right, you can’t force people to be. It’s through encouragement, support etc. people have to WANT to be excellent, otherwise they won’t be!
Great post brother! Thanks!!
I loved this post Chris!
It is a choice to choose excellence and I love the thought that excellence is your culture, which is actions and attitudes!!! Profound ways excellence can make an impact.
Excellent post and inspiring remarks, Chris. I would add to your list and the development of a “excellence” habits and reflections in the working place, because I do believe that everyday practice in “higher order”[!!!] thoughts, skills and practices can make a difference in an organization, company, group of people or just to yourself. Thank you for sharing these wonderful thoughts.
I keep coming back to this post. The info is straightforward, but it’s something I need to hear again and again. And again. As a matter of fact, I just set a recurring monthly reminder to read this post again and again. And again. Thanks for YOUR excellence!
My pleasure Dave!!