What Lies Beyond Excellence?

What Lies Beyond Excellence?

Tired of being told to focus on results and outcomes? Do you already achieve excellence, and are you wondering if there isn’t even more to success?

There’s more.

Before we get to that, let me share a recent experience.

I met with a large and successful organization that specializes in coaching and leadership development. We chatted about what it provides to leaders and managers in Calgary’s oil and gas centered economy. I was somewhat surprised that the organization’s focus was almost exclusively performance coaching in helping leaders achieve tactical targets.

Doing what I do—focusing on people skills, and embracing personal growth elements and vulnerability—were strictly taboo.

In sharp contrast, most leadership schools today teaching their business graduates that the old ways of thinking are not enough in our fast changing world. To be successful, we need to drop the old ways of thinking, the old command and control structures. We need to embrace the stronger and more effective approach of self-awareness, emotional attunement, humility, openness and vulnerability.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created themAlbert Einstein

In fact, Eric J. McNulty – director of research at the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative—says leaders need to completely give up control. That’s a huge difference in perspective between what’s acceptable and what the best business minds today says is necessary.

Giving up control doesn’t have to mean a lack of order and progress. In fact, if there’s trust between team members, then there’s less need to focus on micromanaging and tactical targets.

Order is something we all generally seek, but few of us want to be controlledEric J. McNulty

While the work being done in helping leaders achieve short-range targets is valuable, there is so much more available and possible.

Here’s what “more” looks like

More is what lies beyond hitting the short-term targets. More is what is better than your previous all-time best. More is doing something qualitatively different than your competitors.

Good managers don’t manage projects, they manage people, and they get good performances out of people. Forbes


More is what golfer Tiger Woods has done multiple times, which is to stop getting better at what he already did better than anyone else, and re-invent his swing. Rather than just practice at getting better what already worked exceptionally well, Woods fundamentally shifted how he went about hitting the ball.

It’s beastly difficult to make a transition to a new way of behaving, especially when the old way has worked so well.

And what got you here isn’t going to work anymore, not if you want to be better than anyone else. Not if you want to be even better than yourself.

To be better than anyone else, you have to be better than YOU are.

It isn’t about improving your already excellent performance; it’s about shifting who you are at your core.

How do I change who I am?

Start by realizing that you want and need to change. If you’re still reading this, you’re likely already there. Congratulations!

  • Identify some specific behaviors that are typical of who you are today. For example, let’s say you’re a brilliant problem solver. People always come to you to get fast, efficient solutions. You’ve been rewarded for that behavior many times through bonuses, promotions and performance reviews.Now you’re in charge of a team of problem solvers—everyone still comes to you, and your team isn’t good enough. The team members don’t seem to “get it” as fast as you do. Clients keep asking for you instead of the brilliant folks on your team. It’s wearing you down, and demoralizing the team.


  • Watch yourself. What’s going on inside you when someone drops a problem on you? Do you feel yourself rising to the challenge? Anticipating the grateful thanks of the client? You want to be the hero again. Make a note of that.
  • Realize you have a choice. As you repeatedly observe yourself, you begin to realize that you want the rush of gratitude, and yet you also want your team to be able to meet this challenge. You can pass the work to them, and be there to support them, to make them look good. Which option are you going to choose? Observe your choices.
  • Restructure your habit. As you choose to turn your ream into excellent problem solvers, observe that works best in terms of their success. What behaviors to you need to repeat? What do you need to reinforce. Make note of those and let those become the new normal.
  • Practice. Embed this new behavior. Rewire and rebuild your behaviors and those of your team to align with those that ensure their success. The latest Neuropsychology indicates that we physically restructure our brains through repetitive actions and thoughts.

Welcome to the new you.

At the end of this process, you’ll begin to see yourself as the uber-mentor of problem solvers. You’re no longer even tempted to solve the problem yourself. You look forward to the rush of receiving client calls – calls where clients are effusive about how effective your team is. You’re no longer the only good problem solver, and you look forward to commending your team on its problem solving abilities.

You’ve changed who you are.



If you’re ready to really shift your core, to become different and better than you are today, contact me for a free strategy session. In this session we will plan out how best to address the items that will accelerate your personal growth and success.

My specialty is helping you Ex-it your current reality and move on to one that’s better.

Photo credits

Albert Einstein – Colorized © 2014 DonkeyHotey, CC BY 2.0

Tiger Woods in 2007 © 2007 Keith Allison, CC BY-SA 2.0

Captain America The Avengers movie art  © 2012 MarvelousRoland, CC BY-SA 2.0

You © 2008 Subharnab Majumdar, CC BY 2.0

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