Resurrection is a very long, five-season series about the establishment of the Ottoman Empire. The central character, Etugrul, faces unbelievable ordeals to seed the Turkish State. It’s set in 1200 AD and cleverly presents the many, many challenges the hero must overcome to make it all happen. Among all the bloody battles energized by corrupt, nefarious characters, the toughest was his discipline of his childhood friend and closest, most loyal confidant, Bamsi.
Etugrul directed Bamsi to hold a position in a battle and then followed him to conclude the main battle. In the chaos, Bamsi decided to chase the Mongols who intended to kill their horses, which would have left them all trapped in the Mongol territory. He saved the horses, but Etugrul faced a major battle without backup.
Back at his tent, Etugrul stripped Bamsi of his rank and title. It was painful and dreadful to watch. As a leader, he had to communicate through this action the principles and standards that he had set, his tribe stands for justice. Walking the talk came at a high cost.
Listen to this podcast from The Money Show where Pavlo Phitidis unpacks excellence in business.
Can you afford not to set a standard of excellence?
It depends on how you see your life. The only things we control are the present moment and the future, and it’s all a personal choice. Many businesses generate income for their owners and create a good lifestyle. Few become truly excel despite having the potential to.
It’s a tough call to make.
A lifestyle business can certainly give you just that, a good lifestyle. As it suggests, work is work, and play is play. A balanced life is how it’s sold and very often actively and widely supported and promoted, challenging you with questions such as “how much is enough?”. It’s a subtle but determined intention to keep you at the collective level, since surpassing that collective level might imply comparative failure for those who don’t. Striving for excellence is equally a choice, and it’s far easier to make it if you love what you do and do what you love. This sounds ideal, but it’s not.
How do you set a path toward excellence?
Excellence needs to be superceded by a vision of what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it. The cost of excellence becomes an investment in excellence and your life if it has meaning for you. And meaning can be fragile. If you find it, attach to it and don’t share it too widely. People will challenge it jealously, and on the tougher days, you can waver and allow doubt to erode it.
Next, you need to establish a standard of excellence. For example, in competitive sports, you measure your team against many others. What then sets your standards of excellence? Is it the number of clients or the rating from clients?
Motivating and engaging your team is essential to setting a path to excellence. If you have your leadership team inspired, and they in turn inspire their teams, you can, for example, challenge your team to raise the standard of their team by 3% per month. Twelve months later, that team is functioning at a 36% higher level of engagement. Three years later, your expectations have risen by more than 100%. Make the number 3% your mantra!
In family business succession, excellence is tested to the extreme. How do you involve your family in the company? Should you? If you bring an incompetent loved one into your business, what does this say about you, your vision, and standards? And how does it make your team, especially those committed to excellence, feel and rethink their futures with you?
Dealing with a rock star
Does a commitment to excellence allow you to have rock stars in your business? Top performers always want different treatment. The thing with standards is that they create the framework against which reliable, consistent, and dependable decisions can be made, and therefore leadership ones as well. Do you demote your Bamsi when the fragile principles and standards that everyone has come to rely upon are compromised in your journey to excellence?
“A 3% increase in standards per month adds up to 36% improvement in a year, and in 3 years you can raise the bar 100%!”