“Simplicity in character, in manners, in style; in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Things have a way of changing rapidly and can catch many by surprise. Navigating changes are never easy, but they needn’t be complicated. We are all impacted by changes, and everyone is thinking through the next steps to take, whether personal or business.
No one will argue that we’re living through unprecedented events in world history, many before us have faced unusual circumstances in their generations and successfully navigated those troubling times. Why do some advance during such times while others stall and some fail? The answer has always been the principle of Moral Excellence.
Moral Excellence Never Fails
Writer Matt Mayberry notes, “If you take a look at some of the world’s greatest athletes, most successful entrepreneurs, or anyone who has mastered their craft, you will find that they made a firm commitment to daily Excellence. Constantly striving for Excellence in every area of your life is ultimately what will determine the quality of your life, no matter what you do for a living.
Committing to Excellence is what has shaped some of the most successful companies. Committing to Excellence is what turns an average athlete into a great athlete. Committing to Excellence is what spurs an ordinary person to creating extraordinary success for themselves.” (1)
The Principle of Moral Excellence
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”
– Vince Lombardi
When I speak of Excellence, I’m referring to moral Excellence, which is conforming to a high standard of ethics and right behavior. Excellence, in itself, is embracing high value and quality. To better understand the principle of moral Excellence, let us break the word Excellence down to excel and the suffix -ence.
Excel: To surpass in accomplishment and to be distinguished by superiority.
-Ence: An action or process, and a quality or state of being.
The principle of Moral “Excel-ence,” then, is the process of consistently producing high-quality work that surpasses previous accomplishments by continually exceeding expectations.
Holding High Values Enables You to Keep Adding Value
The combination of high moral values and exceptional work ethics sets a person of moral Excellence apart from the rest. Their decision to regularly exceed expectations ensure continued personal growth. An organization that promotes moral Excellence tends to retain the customers/clients they’ve been adding value to by exceeding their expectations.
Aristotle says, “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
A commitment to moral Excellence allows you to empower others to reach their potential with integrity in a spirit of Excellence. Every one of us is born with our potential already within us. We all possess a capacity for greatness, our motivation to do so begins when we become aware of who we are, and what we’re capable of achieving; this is true in any environment or economy.
Excellence: A Sure Route to Influence
John C. Maxwell says, “By cultivating a culture of excellence, a business attracts customers and wins their loyalty.” Maxwell continues, “Excellence Means…
I agree with Aristotle: “Excellence is not an act; it’s a habit.” To gain a reputation for Excellence necessitates delivering results whenever you’re called upon. Hit-and-miss performers are neither trusted nor respected. On the other hand, those who repeatedly demonstrate competence gain credibility, and their credibility paves the way to influence.
Legendary basketball coach Pat Riley defines Excellence as “the gradual result of always striving to be better.” People with a spirit of Excellence continuously improve; they make sure to be better tomorrow than they are today. Excellent leaders are voracious learners. Since they’re constantly growing, they always have fresh insights to impart to their teammates and new skills to contribute to their organization.
Creativity attracts others to you and to your ideas. We enjoy interacting with people who open up our imaginations through the originality of their work. Creativity also gives rise to Excellence by facilitating problem-solving. Sometimes creative persons break new ground; at other times they simply find innovative ways to apply existing concepts. Either way, they add value by enabling their organization to move beyond the obstacles that had previously held it back.
4) Going the Extra Mile
“To excel” literally means to go beyond average. Responsible people can be counted upon to do what is expected of them, but excellent people routinely do more than asked. Persons of Excellence deliver results in such a way that leaves their customers pleasantly surprised.”(2)
“Moral excellence is the bright consummate flower of all progress.”
– Charles Sumner