Excellence has become a buzz word for vision and mission statements. It's a great aspiration as long you truly understand what it means. Once you do though, it will change your leadership, your team, and your organization.
Most people make the assumption that excellence is the very best of a particular product, service, or idea. Excellence is found in those things, but they do not define excellence. It has also been associated with a destination, as in, "one day we'll do things with excellence."
This definition of excellence is easy to hold to and agree upon because it's so widely accepted. Therefore, we need to redefine the word in our own minds to see it truly realized in whatever it is we are doing.
The problem with our perspective (aka "The Lie")
Every month I anxiously await a new leadership podcast from New Spring Church senior pastor Perry Noble. As a pastor with 300+ staff and volunteers that see an average of 31,000 people each weekend, he receives a lot of questions on church growth. Sometimes his advice isn't well received.
On a recent episode, Perry addressed a statement that he hears often from pastors when he talks about doing church with excellence.
I'd be able to do church with excellence if I had a budget like yours."
Perry's response was insightful, "No you wouldn't! Because if you can't do church with excellence now with what you have, why would it suddenly get better if you threw more money at it?"
The truth about excellence
Most of what people say when confronted about a lack of excellence are excuses. Much like the pastors that claim they could do church with excellence if only the had pastor Perry's budget. That's just poor leadership to believe that.
Leading with excellence comes down to these 4 core truths.
- Excellence has nothing to do with talent. This is a lie that is often masked behind the ambition to constantly improve. Leaders will stay in a cycle to find and hire new and more talented team members. This is because they believe that if they have a team of all-stars, then all of their problems are solved and excellence will come easily.
- Excellence has nothing to do with resources. This lie is usually attached to not having enough money. However, this could be believing that if you only had the right office, clothes, car, software, the list goes on. This is a lie I'm tempted to believe from time to time about this very blog.
Some of the people I look up to in the blogging world are spending thousands of dollars a year on their site. It's easy to believe that having that money would instantly make my blog better.
But it I have to remind myself that my site and brand aren't built upon how many fancy programs I buy. It's built on the grace of God and my hard work.
- Excellence has nothing to do with size. How many times have you thought, "if only I was a part of a larger organization or had a larger team (or in many cases, just one other person), then I could really do something spectacular!"?
Just because an organization is large does not automatically mean that they are doing things with excellence. It just means that they have a big payroll.
- Excellence has everything to do with stewardship. During that episode on The Perry Noble Leadership Podcast, Perry gave a quote that perfectly captures what the true definition of excellence is, "Excellence is doing the very best you can with what you have."
There is a scripture that goes along with that statement that says, "if a man can be trusted with little, he can then be trust with much." This is why Perry said that pastors that instantly had his budget wouldn't be able to do church with excellence.
If they can't do it now with what they have in their hand, why would they do better if they had 100 times more. So, steward well what you have and excellence is sure to follow.
One thing that most people forget is that when you get more talented people, you also can get more intense egos. When you get more resources, you also get a lot more scrutiny and expectations. When your team or organization grows, you now have to manage radically different personalities towards success without the team imploding.
If you'll go over these truths the next time your team is under performing, then you'll be more likely to overcome your obstacles and less likely to make excuses and blame outside forces on your lack of excellence.
What lie is keeping you from achieving excellence?