The Goal of Striving for Excellence

If you were to ask everybody at work if they wanted to have a better professional life or promotion, how many would raise their hands for a better life, professional career or even better relationships? I think everyone would raise their hands. So what causes the gap between those who experience these rewards and those who don’t?

According to Dennis G. MacCarthy the author of the best seller book” The Loyalty Link” most employees give 60 percent of their time and attention for their jobs. It is enough to do what must be done in most cases. But to achieve excellence employees need to give 100% commitment.

Excellence starts with a commitment…

Green Bay Packers Coach Vince Lombardi said “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will. “

“Decision is the spark that ignites action. Until a decision is made, nothing happens”….Wilfred Peterson

Watch this movie called 212 degrees

Of all the important decisions that we make in our lifetimes, deciding on whether or not to commit to excellence is a major one that will determine your place in the future.  The pursuit of excellence also pushes people to accomplish things that seem impossible. Unfortunately, we live in a culture that has created a generation of mediocre citizens who are happy to live their lives as “getting by”. We see them all around us.

When you commit yourself to striving for excellence, you set yourself on a path to living in a higher state of achievement on both a personal and professional level.

Ok – so how can we impact others to make a commitment to strive for Excellence?

  • First we must make a personal commitment to excellence. I call it being “true” to self first. If you can’t keep your word when making your own personal goals, then how are others going to respect your leadership? Before you can expect others to be excellent, you have to be excellent yourself. As a general rule, employees will feel more disposed to giving you their best if they see you doing the same.
  • Little things matter BIG. Every person can change something small that will make a real difference in their work. It could be as simple as their attitude about excellence. Negative attitude is one of the major reasons for non-committal approach. It will be necessary to mention here that one of the toughest jobs is to change people’s attitude. Some people only see the glass half empty instead of half full.
  • Our students are our customers – Students are the most important people and should be the priority of everyone in the university. At the end of the day, student satisfaction counts more than any other thing.
  • Job Satisfaction – One of the major disappointments for people is not achieving the results in their work or seeing the proper respect. Nobody can achieve great results without giving a total commitment. So when a person is committed, great results will become the positive reinforcement and thus leads to greater job satisfaction. Job satisfaction is one of the key drivers for people to work harder and stay longer at the university.
  • What Gets Rewarded, Gets Repeated – People will not do their best and will settle for mediocrity when they feel that their employers’ commitment in terms of reward and recognition is lacking. Commitment is a mutual phenomenon  when employers want to get the best from their employees and do not reciprocate it with proper reward and recognition people will not give their commitment.
  • Providing Growth Opportunities – Another powerful weapon, which can cause deep commitment among employees, is their perceived value or professional growth opportunities provided by the university. Growth and development is an inborn need of human beings and reaching there is everyone’s desire.
  • Providing Vision – It is second behind honesty –Commitment cannot be achieved from people if they do not know the answer to the basic question “Commitment towards what? People will act if they know and can visualize what they are supposed to achieve. An effective leader will motivate people by giving them a vision of what they can become, and how they can transform their units. A good vision should be challenging, meaning something worth the extra effort and sacrifice. Challenging your employees to create new standards of excellence produces powerful and positive results. A vision should also be articulated in simple and easy to understand language.

Taking Action Steps to Excellence

  • Develop a Mission Statement for Excellent Service – post it on the wall
  • Communicate and over communicate the excellence expectations to your staff
  • Develop annual calendar for key projects and events. Respect your staff by giving information and assignments early.
  • Wear name tags for service accountability
  • Red zones – balance peak work times vs. vacation dates
  • Establish dress code for good first impression
  • Branding standards for publications/website
  • Confidentiality is important to customers
  • Attitude is everything
  • Develop work standards and measure student satisfaction
  • Define success – give credit where credit is due
  • Develop atmosphere of respect and high expectations
  • Authentic dialog on issues – attacking processes and not individuals
  • Responsibility – accepting the task – No Excuses
  • Allowing mistakes to improve processes – encourage innovation
  • Staying active in the work is key to quality and timely resources

· Controlling threats to Excellence

  • Cutting corners
  • Extended breaks
  • Lack of focus
  • Utilizing time unwisely – setting right priorities
  • Disorganization or cluttered work places
  • Blaming others for their poor performance
  • Not accepting better suggestions from others

If not Excellence, what? If not Excellence now, when?” Tom Peters

Are you leading a group that is striving for Excellence?

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