Your success in life will be in direct proportion to your commitment to excellence, no matter what your chosen field is. – Vince Lombardi
The word excellence sounds very appealing and pleasurable to the ear. You and I, individual and corporate, need to imbibe this habit of excellence for us to achieve our aspirations and dreams.
Where to start, of course, is to make a commitment to it. This commitment must be whole hearted. Once we make it, we must stick to it. It should not be accompanied by hesitation or doubt. NO either/or. A middle way doesn’t exist in the dictionary of excellence. When you accept it, your acceptance must be total. 100 percent. So are you in or out?
Ah, you’re in? Congratulations. One more convert to the path of excellence. I’ve been on this thing for long. What thing, you ask? The pursuit of excellence. At first I was searching. Then I found it. I thought that finding it is the end of the journey. I learnt quickly; finding it was the easy part. Remaining relevant, maintaining and sustaining a culture of excellence is the challenge.
Tell me, what do you want to excel in? What do you want to be known for? You must have dreams, aspirations, ambitions, or goals. You surely have ends to which you want to direct your energies. What are your skills and strengths? In which areas lie your competencies? What do you enjoy doing? What things could you do very easily? What skills do you have that produce results that are of high value to others? What skills do you have that are scarce, rare, unique, difficult and tasking to acquire, hard to imitate, or expensive to acquire?
How can you sharpen the identified core skills? What new edges can you add to them to make them even more formidable? How can you use your sharpened and enhanced skills to serve more people? How can you use these competencies to reposition yourself or increase the quantity of results you’re producing by entering into other areas of your profession, or other services, businesses, industries, markets? If you are an individual, how can you use the identified competencies in other areas of your life?
Acquaint yourself with your environment. Study your environment. What opportunities presently exist around you and how can you take advantage of them? What do people want and how can you give them the very best of what they want?
Now that you’ve decided on what you want to be known for, seek information (old and new) in this area. Find out everything you can about it. Acquire new skills if you’ll need them in fulfilling your purpose. Make friends with people who are committed to excellence. Find a mentor in the area you’re interested in. Have models who are perfect examples of excellence in action. They may be individual or corporate.
You may need other people to aid you in fulfilling your purpose. Hire the very best. Spend time and good money on getting the best. Train, retrain, coach, motivate, inspire, and empower your people to give the best. Create a conducive and challenging work environment and offer competitive remuneration packages in order to enable your people to bring out their best.
Have the tools and systems required for you to deliver consistent, superior performance. Continuously update these tools and systems. Make maximum use of them. Research on how to improve your art, craft, or process. Research on how to improve your products, services, processes, and values. What are the expectations of your consumer or client?
Study other fields and take what you find useful there. Check out what other people and institutions are doing. Look at what the competition is doing and offering. What can you learn from them?
Continuously and persistently upgrade your standards. Innovate constantly. Let your drive for excellence permeate every area of your life or operations. Engineer discontent into your consciousness. Anything can be made simple. It could be faster and cheaper. It could be better.
Seek alliances. Cooperate with others – individual, corporate. Cooperate to pull your resources and take advantage of opportunities. You can also acquire strategic skills in this way. Give every activity your very best. Ask yourself these four questions before embarking on any endeavour.
One: Will it fulfill a vital human need?
Two: Can it be done beautifully?
Three: Can it stand the test of time?
Four: Can it be better than anything you or anyone has done previously?
Think excellence. Feel excellence. Dream excellence. Sleep excellence. Breath excellence. Walk and talk excellence. Make excellence a habit. Make it a daily affair. Make it a moment by moment affair. Says Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
You, too, have found it. Welcome to the club. Congrats. The challenge is remaining relevant and maintaining and sustaining this culture.