I have been a student of Management for 30 years. Management is as much of an art as it is a science and understanding that you practice management rather than it being a degree on the wall shows that you continually evolve in this position. To be a successful Manager you must have an understanding of how to achieve Excellence. Excellence is a combination of several factors depending on what industry you manage in. Today I am going to discuss the number one thing to do to achieve Excellence in what YOU do.
Excellence is an Attitude
You do not achieve Excellence by completing a checklist, you do not achieve Excellence by doing what the boss said, and lastly, you do not achieve Excellence through watching an inspiration video (although there are some very good ones).
Excellence is a lifestyle
Excellence needs to be how you address everything in your life. Excellence means never saying “whatever”. It is setting the highest standards to hold yourself to and having the discipline to hold yourself accountable. I don’t care what you are doing, you can be excellent at it. Washing the dishes, cleaning the bathroom at home, creating reports, or providing customer service, all can have levels of Excellence attached to them.
You will not achieve Excellence if you think it only applies to a “work” atmosphere. Excellence can’t be turned on and off. It’s just in you.
Lets define a few terms;
Excellence – The quality of being outstanding or extremely good (Webster). Achieving or distinguishing a superior quality in an action or outcome (Simons)
Attitude – A settled way of thinking typically reflected in a persons behavior (Webster). An approach or outlook demonstrated through actions, communications, or outcomes (Simons)
Pride – A feeling or deep pleasure derived from ones own achievements (Webster). Personally Responsible In Delivering Excellence (taken from my Corporate Training days)
I am certain I have been “picked on” by those around me for having an Excellence mindset. I have extremely high standards for myself. I hold myself to higher standards than I have ever held an employee too. Why, because it is important to me to do things right (whatever right is). I look at whatever I do as a product I am producing, and I don’t take it lightly. Some think I am too hard on myself. No, I am not. I just don’t say “whatever”.
Excellence is also about precision. You need to know exactly what needs to happen in order for it to happen. Once again, this will carry over to other aspects of your life. In addition to Management, I am also a classically trained Chef and a life long Drummer. Precision follows me in both of those. Playing drums is as much about where you hit the drum or cymbal, and at what angle and with how much force as it is about the rhythms or change ups. If you match the rhythm but you aren’t precise with your stick, you are a hacker. If you do it right, you are a drummer. Doing it exactly the same way every time is Excellence, and much harder than you might think. The same goes for cooking. Many people can flip an egg but having the timing to have an entire meal or banquet “go out” together, where no food has had to sit (which degrades quality) and everything is cooked or prepared perfectly can be like conducting a symphony. Variations will always be noticed by someone in your audience so it is important to be consistent EVERY time. You need to be very precise with your planning and execution. You need to know ahead of time how it needs to happen. Both are great examples because when you haven’t achieved Excellence, you know right away!
Does Excellence allow for mistakes?
Absolutely! I am far from the best there is at so many things. Some people confuse my quest for Excellence as thinking that I think I don’t make mistakes. I certainly do make mistakes, but because of my attitude, I likely work harder to not repeat mistakes than others that don’t have this mindset. Mistakes are a very important part of learning and you can’t learn from them if you don’t recognize them. I must confess I get mad if I repeat my own mistakes though.
If you haven’t read the short but EXCELLENT book about the FISH Philosophy, I highly recommend it. It applies to everyone and will help you realize what attitudes you are choosing.
This is why Excellence is achievable, because it is an attitude, and as you may read in FISH or my other blogs about FISH.
“Choose your Attitude”