… It’s About Setting the Standard
Leading for excellence is about doing something different. Going beyond what is expected.
When we think of excellence we think of something outstanding. Of quality. The very best there is. But it is not a steady state to be achieved.
Leading for Excellence Is Doing Something Different
No, excellence has to be more than this. For the athlete it is about the striving not only the arriving. Being at the top of your game isn’t always enough. Sooner or later someone will do something different. Something better.
The same applies in leadership. Leading for excellence isn’t about meeting the standard, it’s about setting the standard. Innovation is needed.
This reminds me of a book about the USS Benfold* where Captain D. Michael Abrashoff took on the worst ship in the fleet and made it the best. And he did this by doing things different. His leadership demonstrated innovation.
Innovation at Work Is to Change the Rules
In work we are often governed by policy and procedure. We are expected to follow the rules. But keeping your head down and sticking to the rules rarely gets outstanding results!
Innovation and progress are only achieved by those who have the courage to venture beyond procedure.
However, our teams will seldom step out of line unless we lead by example and create a climate of trust. Where people are given all the responsibility they can handle and the opportunity to be their best.
Innovation can be as simple as showing people how to lead themselves to their own solutions and then to step out of their way.
Does your team think: “We can do anything” or expect you to shoot the messenger?
When was the last time you did something about a rule that no longer works?
Creative Commons image courtesy Stephanie Watson.