10 Ways to Pursue Excellence Without Negativity
The difference between leading and losing is the courage to pursue excellence without getting sucked into negativity.
Pursue excellence or mediocrity prevails.
Everyone rises to excellence or eases into mediocrity.
Mediocrity ignites apathy.
Those who tolerate mediocrity disrespect themselves and their teams. Only fools pour themselves out for mediocrity.
The mediocre lose energy.
The pursuit of excellence energizes everyone who shares your values and believes in your mission.
10 ways to pursue excellence without negativity:
- Ask teams, who believe in the mission, where they can be better. Don’t point out their failures. Let them point out their aspirations.
- Every time you feel like pointing out a problem, ask, “How can we make that better?”
- Never allow conversations about issues or problems to end without finding some corrective action. At the least, set a “make it better” meeting.
- Choose your battles. Focus on behaviors and issues with high visibility.
- Ask, “What can we do about that,” when someone points out a problem or shortfall.
- Reject the need for big solutions. The need for big solutions is the reason teams end up doing nothing, except complaining.
- When someone says, “That won’t work,” ask, “What might help?”
- Focus more on where you’re going than where you’ve been. Apply Pareto’s 80/20 principle.
- Say, “You have more in you,” when something falls short.
- Think of the pursuit of excellence in terms of people, then systems. How can you maximize talent and passion?
Bonus: Describe “better” clearly, before reaching for it.
It’s lazy, ignorant, and offensive to point out problems, failures, or shortcomings, without committing to make things better.
Wise leaders pursue excellence without focusing on failure or blame.
How have you seen passion for excellence create resistance and negativity?
How can leaders pursue excellence without become negative?
Bookmarked! That’s my “resolution” Haha.
Sent from my iPhone
Thanks Christie and best wishes for the New Year.
RE: No. 8—It’s real easy to criticize the past when trying to make something better. I’ve made the mistake before of offending those who are responsible for how things are. The focus has to be on improvement (positive, what could be) rather than what was. Great post Dan!
Thanks Corey. I’ve been there and done that, too. It’s so easy to react against what I don’t like, when it’s better to reach toward what I like/want.
Yeah, the way things are is anchored to decisions made in the past, many of which got people promoted. They implemented some “improvement” that was an improvement, then. Now, things roll differently and those improvements need improvement. “The Round Wheels of today become the Square Wheels of tomorrow.” How those continuous continuous improvements are thought of is a key issue in the ongoing cultural improvement of an organization.
Remember that, “Nobody ever washes a rental car” and that ownership and involvement are key issues to moving forward. All the existing processes have owners, too.
“Remember that, “Nobody ever washes a rental car” and that ownership and involvement are key issues to moving forward. All the existing processes have owners, too.” How very, very true. Personal ownership and involvement are the investment that will make all the difference in the dedication . . . great point.
I learned long ago that if I couldn’t offer a solution to a problem then there was no need to let the frustration of the problem get to me. Complaining about problem areas, day in and day out lets the negativity take over. It is so easy to see the negative side. This is simply the worst way to live. It takes a conscious decision to handle problem areas/people in a positive manner. Sometimes, a solution is not easy or readily available. These are the most important times a positive outlook is necessary. Fix what you can, when you can.
I love your list of ten – a great guide that is useful in all areas of life.
Thanks Dianna. The magnetism of problems always turns into negativity when left to itself. I have to continually remind myself to turn toward the future rather than sink into the past, when it comes to problems.
Hey I love the graphic on today’s email, even if it has a misspelled word.
(I was trying not to be negative)
Page Cole Visiting Angels of Green Country
I almost wondered if Dan didn’t slip that in there (even if it was just his sneaky unconscious) to see if any of us would call it out in good humor. I could feel myself mistaking perfection for excellence. Maybe a good future topic? Why Perfection is NOT equal to Excellence.
Thanks James. Sometimes there is a good deal of tongue and cheek in a post. But, in this case, I’ll say that I aspire to be better. 🙂
This is absolute gold for me and something I can use for a 1:1 I have planned for tomorrow to discuss how we can keep meeting driving towards excellence without any residual feelings of hurt feelings or lowered self confidence and doubt.
For #9 (saying “you have more in you”), is that something you’d say mostly in private/1:1 or do you even do that often in group settings?
Thanks James. I hear you on #9. The person who hears it has to believe we are truly out for their best interest. It also helps if we know them and have recognized their strengths in the past.
Always a pleasure.
Perfect timing. I’ve been feeling the sucking of negativity as we have been evaluating and preparing to couageously press forward in 2015. I’ve got a number of meetings in the next few weeks that I was beginning to dread. Gonna keep that first sentence before my eyes to help remind me to stay steady and energize those around me that have succumbed or are in danger of succombing to negativity and mediocrity.
Thanks John. It’s a pleasure to serve. Believe me, this post is written from my own experiences. 🙂
If you were taught excellence than you are there, when we decide to take short cuts mediocrity takes over as your aware! keep ones values, lead by examples, and hold each individual accountable for their actions until they reach excellence, it can be done! Take time to educate if you have too, although selecting individuals with qualities you need helps too! Sorry we don’t live in a perfect world, sometimes the best is good but excellence towers above all!
Thanks Tim. It’s funny what sticks out to me, sometimes. The expression “short cuts” seems to say so much. Thanks for poking my brain.
Dan – another excellent post. You manage excellence really well. I took your main themes, bridged them to the Peters and Waterman “In Search of Excellence” book and ginned up a Square Wheels LEGO Poster on Mediocrity. See it here: http://performancemanagementcompanyblog.com/2014/12/29/challenging-mediocrity-continuous-continuous-improvement/
Hope that all goes well and have a Most Happy New Year!
Wonderful post Dan. It is the positive-solution-called meetings that results in excellence. Thanks
Great advice! A lot of good points to hold onto as I transition from college to full time job
I love the post, and I’m getting a lot from the comments section! I only recently learned the principle of looking for solutions instead of complaining about the problem, and it’s a simple yet life-changing concept that I’m glad you’re sharing here. Our brains and hearts are perfectly capable of leading us to a solution; we have all the information we need to get us moving forward and out of whatever rut we’re stuck in. We simply need to teach ourselves and those around us to reframe the whole situation from “this stinks” to “what do I need to do to fix this?” Love your list of ways to do that; it’s something that takes a conscious effort to learn, in my experience, and every little bit helps.
Great posting in the closing year 2014, Dan. We should shift our paradigm to see the problem. Like half full or half empty glass, which one we will choose ? We can see the problem as a problem or an opportunity.
I wait your another great posting in 2015. Thank you.
I view EVERY issue I face as a Square Wheel — something that is designed to succeed but does not work smoothly. These can be organizational structural issues, people and performance frameworks, poor communications and motivation, etc. Generally, SKILLS are not an issue (if you did put a gun to their head, they probably COULD do things differently or better (ala Mager) ).
I also know that the Round Wheels already exist; the exemplary performers in those same organizational situations could do things differently or they work around roadblocks or they simply make better choices.
Thus, the real issues are not more training but some adaptation of systems or processes or the sharing of best practices that exemplary people already use. It is not so much the glass half empty or half full or an issue with the actual size of the glass. I think that it is about the contents of the glass and the environmental issues that encourage and engage some people and restrain most of the rest.
The ideas are there. The issues are ones of involvement and engagement, of encouragement and intrinsic motivation, of personal development and teamwork and alignment to shared goals and those kinds of organizational dynamics.
Dan’s posts generally focus on these issues of choice. Broadening the considered alternative choices that can be made can be communicated by leadership and team members. We need continuous continuous improvement in every area, personal and organizational.
Happy New Year! Let’s Git ‘er Done in 2015! And Thanks, Dan, for a continued stream of really helpful thinking and re-thinking on all sorts of things.
Love this!!….very inspiring…I will use this with my team….thanks for the post!!!!
It is so easy to get sucked into the “everything is bad” and victim mentality. Several good points above, especially those where you follow up on a “complaint” with the question, “What can we do about that?” Moving from issue to resolution always starts with the first step, but too many times we get in the mood to complain and never get there. I have seen too many times when a group will get in a room and “pile on.” To turn the conversation from “problem publication” to “problem solving” is a key ability of a leader.
Re: 4 – should battles be chosen on visibility or on potential impact of not solving the problem/fighting the battle? Sometimes the high impact issues may not be th most visible = you fight battles that don’t need to be fought.?