Attaining leadership and business excellence in present day world is challenging to many leaders and organizations. The reason is not too far fetched; the world is changing at the speed of light.
Environments that were once stable have become highly unpredictable and uncertain. There is the digital revolution, confusion in politics, a crisis in the finance sector, and breakdown in the legal system. To be effective, leaders have to change too, in order to create sustainable results. But the question is; “Change to what?”
Regardless of industry, organizations that fail to adapt to changes in the marketplace will have difficulty creating sustainable results. And in the final analysis, competitors will eat them up for lunch in the marketplace. Such big names as General Motors (GM), WorldCom, Enron, and Kodak went through bankruptcy, and as I write, Blackberry has failed to stay competitive in a market it once led.
3 Steps for attaining leadership and business excellence
1. Focus on where you are going
The first step towards attaining excellence in leadership, business, or life is to first create a compelling clear vision, then focus intensely on it daily. I am not proposing creating just any vision. A vision for excellence needs to succinctly explain what excellence truly looks like to you and your organization. You can make it the blueprint of your personal philosophy; something representing the goals, legacy or impact. Whatever it might be should be very compelling and clear to you and everyone involved. Unfortunately, many leaders seek to achieve excellence without having a clear understanding of what it truly looks like in their organizations. That lack of clarity makes it impossible for such organizations to go anywhere near excellence.
To attain business excellence, leaders must be willing to focus intensely on their philosophy of excellence regardless of distractions. One great way of doing that is to stop responding to emails, calls, and customer queries immediately as they come. This is not a suggestion to ignore the customer after all ‘customer is king.’ The point is; if business excellence is important to an organization, leaders should create a culture around attaining it. Customer inquiries can be routed to customer representatives having the skills and knowledge to handle them. Where none exists, then the leader can set a definite window for responding to such inquiries. However, there need to be an auto responder or voice messages alerting callers in advance about how long it would take to hear from you.
2. Develop self-discipline
The moment you have maintained a clear focus on your philosophy of business excellence, you will need to hold yourself accountable to achieve it. Accountability requires self-discipline! It is taking responsibility to ensure that all hands are on deck for reaching the agreed level of excellence. As I said earlier, it might involve the discipline to not take customer’s call or respond to emails right away. It also involves taking time off to ask and answer such important questions as: Who do I need that could help? What additional resource do I need to consider? What skills must I develop to reach this goal? Answering these questions is crucial for looking inward (not outward) to identify the resources and capabilities already within, and those that need developing.
3. Take consistent actions
You can focus on your philosophy of excellence, then develop self-discipline, but you cannot attain excellence in leadership, business or life if you do not take a consistent action. The reason is that focusing on anything of importance without disciplined execution is a mere waste of time. Great organizations are adept to execution. They do not push today’s actions forward to tomorrow. They have plans and they hold themselves accountable to achieving them.
If your organization wants to attain business excellence, create a vision of the excellence you desire first, and focus intensely on it. Then develop the discipline to take consistent actions to achieve it. Lack of disciplined execution is the number one factor stopping many CEOs and entrepreneurs across the world from taking their businesses to the next level. However, leaders who turn their ideas into action, then into results invariably set themselves and their organization apart in the marketplace. Peter Drucker, agrees to that when he says: the ability to deliver results is the primary skill of a leader and the only true measure of organizational effectiveness.
I wish you well.