Defining Excellence

August 8, 2022

Defining Excellence

“Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” –John W. Gardner

For most people, excellence means being the best. The Free Dictionary defines excellence as “the state or quality of excelling or being exceptionally good; extreme merit; superiority.” Its meaning is closely tied to winning and success, and just as those two look different for every individual, excellence also takes many different shapes.

However, there are a few things those varied definitions of excellence have in common. First, it takes discipline to achieve excellence. You need to work on your skills and focus on further development and learning to pursue excellence. There is a lot of intentionality, dedication, and focus necessary to achieve it.

As Will Durant said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” It is in the little, everyday things that we do, which accumulate day-by-day, that we achieve excellence. You need a little bit of persistence and a whole lot of consistent performance over time.

Another similarity is that if you want to achieve excellence as a group, an organization, or a team, you need to have good relationships with the members of the group. You also need a clear vision, a goal, a mission, and common values that hold you together, and enough levels of individual ownership of those shared goals and values.

A company’s mission, vision, and core values come from you, and it is easy to take ownership of something that you came up with. Your challenge, as a leader, is how you will motivate the people who work with you to take ownership of those values. That is where having a good relationship comes in. 

Excellence is about doing the right thing and doing it great. What are the things you want to have a positive impact on? Whose lives do you want to change with what you do? In order to provide excellence to others, you need to be strategic about it.

“A multitude of activity does not produce excellence unless that activity leads to success.”Scott Chadwick, Accountable2You

Excellence isn’t just a skill. It is a way of life. It is everything—from the language you use and the questions you ask, to the people you surround yourself with and the way you interact with other people. How adaptable you are and how much you pay attention to your environment also contribute to your success.

You can summarize what excellence is in this quote:

“Excellence is never an accident; It is the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution, and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities.”Author unknown

Thank you for reading A Brilliant Tribe.