In search of excellence

We are enjoying the Winter Olympics and appreciate the competitors’ dedication, determination and their search for excellence.  In many cases what counts is taking part and recording a personal best.  Whatever drives these people on, they are different from most of us.  Why?  Olympic competitors have an attitude which says, ‘I can do that’Then they take action to make it happen.  Simple.

For the majority of us, most changes we make are only made when the pain associated with not making a change is too great to bear and we can see no hope of the pain going away without taking action.  Most people are not totally happy – we just accept the way things are. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the phone rings and our attention focuses on the next problem.  A year passes and we suffer the same pain again.  Anyway, we can always hope things will get better next year.  Luckily, the phone rings again…  

What makes the best people different?  The best people take action based on goals or values. They act for positive reasons not just when they experience pain.  They search for excellence.  They look for small changes that make a big difference.  They get curious. They know where they are and want to see if they can have more.  The best look for opportunities and alternatives.  They might hear what others do and then they adopt that model for their situation.  For example, after attending an introductory meeting to discuss assurance reporting on a service organisation’s internal controls we were delighted to see how the management team quickly saw how they could use an assurance report to exceed client expectations, save them time and open up new opportunities. Why?  They didn’t have to.  They just wanted to see how applying best practice would make a difference to them.  This is just what the best do.  You don’t need to stand at the top of ski jump or hurtle down the luge.  You just need to get curious. Have a clear idea of what you want and take action.