BY Glen Edward Quiring
Excellence is not an aspiration. It is the next five minutes. - Peters #organizationalhealth #excellence #vitality
Don't wait for excellence.
Business and Organizations alike can often feel the press of needing to raise the bar as they provide goods as services. It always feels urgent. Soon after a long winded discussion, the urgency abates and everything is "back to normal".
I am convinced this is because excellence quickly becomes abstract. The conversation inevitably moves to "if we would only do THIS thing, or THAT thing. . . ".
I can't account for why this happens but it does. The only solution for such behavior I believe is found in Peter's quote above. Excellence needs to move from a topic of discussion to the way we operate day in and day out. Excellence isn't an idea. It is a verb the impacts our strategies AND our operations.
Try this. Next time your staff begins to talk about how things "should" be done in the future stop the conversation and rearrange your meeting agenda so excellence can have it's way in the current meeting. This essentially means giving up long winded dialogues about "what we should do" in favor of what we will implement right now in the moment followed by a promise (at least an action item for the next meeting ) to measure results and followup on its impact.
Excellence can have an impact on your staff. Just don't wait for it. Just do it.
Tradition and change are strange bedfellows.
Traditions are everywhere: families have traditions, schools have traditions, churches and corporations have traditions. People worship, teachers educate, governors govern.
Traditions acknowledge our accomplishments (educational). Traditions spark our imagination (vision). Traditions foster confidence. Traditions seep into the most mundane of our daily routines. To put it simply, tradition(s) adds value to our lives.
But tradition is also a double agent, an evil genius, if you will. It can spark imagination, but it can also snuff it out. It can foster confidence but it can undermine initiative. Tradition can express meaning through shared beliefs or create mundane events that isolate our understanding. When it adds value, everybody loves it. When it becomes Dr. Evil, everyone despises it.
Tradition(s) grows out of formative life stories. Most people love a tradition because they know the story that gives life to it. Remember when Hewlett Packard merged with Compaq? This was a battle of narratives: HP employees and board members knew change was imminent. How? They told and retold the HP story, the Hewlett Packard Way which served as a guiding force to its corporate mission, vision, and values. A merger with Compaq would mean a loss of this fundamental narrative.
Alas, all traditions, it seems to me, have a limited life cycle. This means that at some point tradition gives way to change.
Leaders know the value of change. But they also must also respect tradition. To Lead, consult, and manage change we must become experts at uncovering the narratives that spawned the tradition. When we understand this narrative we are then equipped to provide a new narrative; a narrative that respects the past, but fashions and tells a new vision that inspires new processes, new activities, new "traditions".
To be a great leader, respect tradition while making room for change. Really, the bed is beg enough for both. And in point of fact, one can't exist without the other.
www.getvitality.org by Glen Edward Quiring is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.getvitality.org.