Many years ago as a young teacher and aspiring leader I had the opportunity to meet with a very influential school superintendent. At one point in our meeting, I asked him, “If I want to be in your position some day, what should I do?” Without hesitation he responded, “Go back to your classroom and be the best teacher you can be.” He proceeded to say that if you do your current job with excellence, you will some day be entrusted with more responsibility and leadership opportunities.
Leadership guru, Tom Peters wrote an incredible book called “Little Big Things”. It is a compendium of little things that we can do each and every day that will have a big impact in our effectiveness and productivity. Over and over in that book Peters comes back to the concept of excellence. One phrase he repeats frequently is “Excellence now. If not excellence, what? If now excellence now, when?”
Excellence takes more time than mediocrity, but the cost in terms of time and effort is not even remotely equitable to the benefit of excellence. 10 extra minutes now to make your presentation, paper, speech or report excellent pays long term dividends if you make it a habit. If co-workers, clients, supervisors and friends know we put in the extra time to ensure that everything we do is excellent… Our influence will grow.
In the past 7 years since my conversation with that superintendent I have worked every day with his advice in mind. I am seeking to be excellent in everything I do, even if I means staying at work a bit longer each day.
If you want to get One Grip Higher, be excellent today!