This week I am in full leadership mode. I am spending a few days on the coast of Mexico with my staff on what we call an “advance” (We don’t want to retreat.). While the setting is amazing and beautiful, it is full court press in regards to work. (Another reason we don’t call these few days a retreat – it seems there should be rest involved in a retreat.) If you are a leader or are passionate about living life as the masterpiece God created you to be, you will enjoy the notes from our staffs agenda and conversation these few days as we are focusing on creating a culture of excellence. Here are five key elements we are developing:
1. Have A Passion For Excellence
This is where it all begins. And as a leader it all begins with you – for those of you who have influence with this is more caught than taught. Be it your employees, kids, friends or co-workers, having a passion for excellence means you are unwilling to cut corners and compromise, but rather you are willing to do whatever it takes to live and perform with excellence.
2. Everyone Taking Personal Responsibility
If you were to ask everyone in your organization, especially leaders, to describe their role and function in living out the mission and vision of the organization, can they do it? If they can’t you start here. You may have the wrong people on the bus or in the wrong seats. It may be that as a leader you are not empowering people or not giving clear direction. Regardless, to create a culture of excellence, everyone in the organization must take personal responsibility. If you are the leader and you have folks on your team unwilling to do this, then you need to take personal responsibility and get them off your team.
3. Focus On Results
Keeping your focus on results will add great value toward creating a culture of excellence. You will attract and keep high performers as you do this, which in turn will take your culture of excellence to a new level of excellence. Guard against simply getting by. Be brutal when considering and evaluating results.
4. Understanding Your System
This is all about understanding why and how you do what you do. If you think you don’t have a system you are wrong. It may be that you have a bad system and you are not getting the results you desire, but you do have a system. Every team member needs to have a clear understanding of your organizational system, so much so that they can clearly explain and teach others your system. You have probably heard the Bible Proverb, “without a vision people perish.” Without a healthy, functioning system, an organization’s culture of excellence perishes.
Here are a few tips for understanding your system:
- Leadership must give clear direction with goals and objectives.
- Resources need to be allocated to assure you are going to get where you are going. You can’t starve people or systems of resources and expect top performance. Resources need to be connected to your goals and objectives.
- Have a way to evaluate and validate your design for going forward.
- Define what you are measuring, how you are measuring it and what you are going to do with the data after you measure it
5. Have A Commitment to Learning And Personal Growth
To say that personal growth and learning are a part of excellence is a statement of the obvious. Your desire and commitment in this area is paramount. The culture of organization that you lead will not out grow you – you must set the pace. Make this a high priority every day.