You Want Excellence But Others Don’t

The pursuit of excellence offends those who like things as they are.

Excellence is an unwelcome disruption to insecure leaders, comfortable teams, and stagnant organizations. The pursuit of excellence hurts at first.

the pursuit of excellence begins with frustration but succeeds with optimism

The pursuit of excellence offends:

  1. Leaders who hide behind hierarchy.
  2. Teams who enjoy “steady as she goes.”
  3. Colleagues who give average effort.

12 ways to pursue excellence when others don’t:

  1. Choose who to be, before you begin. Be kind, compassionate, and positive. Smile while you poke the box. The pursuit of excellence may begin with frustration, but it succeeds with optimism.
  2. Prepare for resistance. Those most invested in the present, resist the future. The longer someone has been with a stagnant organization, the more resistant to change they become.
  3. Focus on benefits while acknowledging challenges.
  4. Accept peril. Those comfortable with the status quo, hope you fail. Some may help.
  5. Avoid accusation. Pursue excellence without attacking those above you.
  6. Find a champion with authority who believes in what you’re doing. The more people your efforts impact, the higher your champion must be.
  7. Don’t expect others to take risks to help you succeed.
  8. Put your own skin in the game.
  9. Make life better for as many as possible. Solve painful problems. Avoid pet peeves and personal projects.
  10. Focus more on giving than getting.
  11. Mind your tone. Speak to everyone like beloved family members. People may reject your efforts because of negative tone.
  12. Accept any negative consequences, if you fail. Don’t complain or attack.

Get real:

  1. The risk of stunning success is stunning failure.
  2. Don’t expect people to make themselves look bad.
  3. Don’t expect people in power to weaken their position. When Tony Hsieh eliminated job titles at Zappos, you could predict that people with titles would resist. (The article doesn’t say the majority who left were bosses. That’s my prediction.)

What is essential to the successful pursuit of excellence in organizations that resist change?

Download an MS Word version here: YOU WANT EXCELLENCE BUT OTHERS DON’T