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:

  1. Ask teams, who believe in the mission, where they can be better. Don’t point out their failures. Let them point out their aspirations.
  2. Every time you feel like pointing out a problem, ask, “How can we make that better?”
  3. Never allow conversations about issues or problems to end without finding some corrective action. At the least, set a “make it better” meeting.
  4. Choose your battles. Focus on behaviors and issues with high visibility.
  5. Ask, “What can we do about that,” when someone points out a problem or shortfall.
  6. Reject the need for big solutions. The need for big solutions is the reason teams end up doing nothing, except complaining.
  7. When someone says, “That won’t work,” ask, “What might help?”
  8. Focus more on where you’re going than where you’ve been. Apply Pareto’s 80/20 principle.
  9. Say, “You have more in you,” when something falls short.
  10. 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?