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When Excellence Becomes an Idol


Let me start by stating that if you knew me personally you would understand how every word of this blog goes against my natural proclivities. Hi, my name is Victor and I am an obsessive perfectionist. Let’s get down to business. Excellence is a big buzzword in leadership spheres these days. Everyone wants to be excellent—whatever you decide the concept means to you.

What if I told you that the number killer of hardcore leadership development is a culture that willing to sacrifice growing leaders for momentary execution-excellence? Any organization given to growing and developing leaders must be willing to do so in a hands-on manner. The people you are developing, once released, will make mistakes, and they will learn from those mistakes if you are set up right. If we are not willing to let people do things and not accommodating enough to let them make mistakes, we can kiss any proper leadership development goodbye. Anyone serious about next generation leaders must not worship at the altar of excellence—the latter can only be a culture, not an idol.

I am not suggesting that you compromise your product standard. I am soliciting that you leave some room for mistakes. I am requesting that you take a posture that drains the surprise factor from subpar performance. I am strongly advising that you not make excellence a god but make development the purpose. The purpose of excellence is the creation of context. A context that predetermines what good work looks like. A context that that shapes our attitude to people and our work.

So what do you think? Do you think you have esteemed excellence to the place of an idol? Are you willing to let excellence be a guide, not a god? Share your thoughts with me.

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