"Excellence" seems is one of the most misunderstood words in the English language. How many times have you seen the word dishonored in daily operations of businesses who proclaim "excellence" in word or deed? While everyone wants to project to their customers and staff team that they are seeking excellence in performance, the reality is that mediocre performance is often rewarded as though it were superior. In this economy the time has come to ante up.
Excellence in performance requires commitment. And commitment requires goals and motivated performance resulting from strong staff training, education and motivation. Nothing else will result in attaining excellence in performance.
There are many common stumbling blocks to attaining excellence. Following are the 10 most common errors that can derail excellence in performance:
• Excellence is not mediocrity.
• Excellence is not situational.
• Excellence is not being negative.
• Excellence is not inconsistent.
• Excellence is not deceitful.
• Excellence is not making excuses.
• Excellence is not blameshifting.
• Excellence is not repeating the same mistakes.
• Excellence is not strictly about personal gain.
• Excellence is not influenced negatively by obstacles.
Commitment to excellence is the core value that enables ordinary individuals to accomplish extraordinary success. To attain performance excellence, the previously listed obstacles must be avoided at all cost.
The excellence in performance test
The first step in seeking excellence in performance is to take the following test:
In evaluating your personal performance, write down these 10 obstacles and list the number of times you fell prey to these situations in the last week:
1. Mediocrity. How do you discern mediocrity? If you are accepting less than optimal performance in any situation.
2. Being situational. How do you determine if you are situational? If you perform at different levels based on the situation. For example, a staff person may perform one way in the presence of leadership and perform at a lesser level in the absence leadership.
3. Being negative. It is easily identifiable if you are falling into this trap.
4. Being inconsistent. If you find you are really motivated one day and the next day you are flat, you are inconsistent.
5. Being deceitful. There are no differing levels of deceit. A lie is a lie is a lie. Some individuals seem to grade lying as less or more important based on the act being covered up. In seeking true excellence, there is no lie that is OK.
6. Making excuses. When an individual tries to find a reason why they failed to achieve a certain goal or accomplish a certain task, they may make up an excuse. The excuse seems very real to the mediocre performer. To the individual seeking excellence in performance, excuses are repugnant.
7. Blameshifting. This is once again rooted in failure to perform. With this situation, the individual blames their failure to perform on another person or on perceived obstacles.
8. Repeating the same mistakes. This is probably the most common obstacle for mediocre performers. Football coach Bobby Bowden says,"The worst mistake is to continue to practice the same mistake." This problem must be overcome to attain excellence in performance.
9. Focusing strictly on personal gain. If an individual is concentrating on their own personal gain, their motives are weak. Excellence in performance is about striving to be the best for the benefit of everyone.
10. Being influenced negatively by obstacles. Obstacles are a fact of life. How an individual responds to the obstacles is what separates excellence in performance from everything else. It is essential to establish and engage counter measures to all common obstacles.
Once you complete the test, there several important considerations that will open the door to performance excellence:
• Quantifying your personal performance.
How is this done currently? Is it based on guesswork or real performance indicators?
• What steps are currently being taken to improve your performance?
Do you have a coach or a mentor? If not, then what is the method of new knowledge attainment?
Remember that every act done every day by every staff team member has a direct impact on the success or failure of a business. Every action affects goals on every level. In commitng to excellence in performance, there will only be positive impacts. Make that your passionate goal.