Updated: Mar 26, 2019
Who wants to be second best? Perhaps no one!
Every individual, company, organisation would like to be EXCELLENT. Excellence for most part is the perfect coming together of knowledge, ability, thought and execution. Today, let’s crack it open and break it down, just a little bit, for us who are not yet excellent.
The Triad – Excellence in three parts
Whenever we start an activity, big or small, building a company to frying potato wedges, there is potential for excellence. Just that wish to get better and better, till we compete only with ourselves.
Some people (and that goes for whole organisations too), just seem to be too good at what they do. That engine which drives their efforts to be demonstrably excellent, comes in three parts under the bonnet. We, who are not quite there, struggle with one part or another at a time, not knowing how to meld it together seamlessly and touch excellence. These three broad parts are – Competence and Personal Qualities, which form the base, as well as Strategic Thinking, which is the key to excellence.
Competence. This is the knowledge base or ability one learns, under guidance or self practice. These abilities allow us to do the chosen activity properly. Any activity often requires us to have a set of such areas of knowledge and ability. In this context Competence is tangible, measurable and therefore, easily trainable or benchmarked. Such competence in knowledge and ability is also most visible and hence focussed upon, when we develop ourselves in classrooms or compete with others.
Personal Qualities. These are the deep, natural, or conditioned aspects of our behaviour. They make us unique and are affected by various influences. Personal qualities are intangible. A bunch of actions, reactions and habits, with all the complex known or unknown workings going on in our minds controlling them. They are difficult to grasp by others and many-a-times even by ourselves. Personal qualities are either ignored or are focussed on haphazardly. Cultures and norms condition behaviours, that help or hinder us. There are no satisfactory measure for human qualities. All the same Personal Qualities are that ‘something’ which gives us our creativity, our struggles, attitude and the wish to excel.
Strategic thinking. Strategic Thinking is a thinking process applied by an individual in the context of achieving success in a any activity. Each individual relies on references of their experiences to make sense of situations and work towards bettering them. When developed towards accomplishing something, a sense of strategic intent and purpose embedded in the mind guides our choices on a daily basis. The attitude of excellence! This mental process is also difficult to measure and monitor, but evident through outcomes. Strategic thinkers are able to hold a mental model of the complete system end-to-end, of their abilities, their qualities and what competencies the desired goals require, to measure up as “excellent”.
Putting it together
While excellence in some aspects are helped by natural gifts and inclination, the start happens from a genuine wish to be excellent. Growing the will to win. Resilience, to reject negative thoughts, yet hold the lessons earned from setbacks. The skill, sacrifice and steadfastness, to self-assess weaknesses and raise the bar to keep surpassing our own expectation. Balancing tangible knowledge with intangible behaviour, leading to better and better execution. All such ingredients of excellence can developed, step by step.
Some can put it all together themselves. But a trainer, coach or mentor can always help one grasp the unknown and intangibles of the excellence triad!
Explode is a niche training firm focused on coaching Situational Leadership and Strategic Thinking, for senior and mid-level decision makers. To learn more, visit