Thereʼs no use trying,” said Alice. “One canʼt believe impossible things.” “I daresay you havenʼt had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes Iʼve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.Alice in Wonderland

Business Excellence

I’s about adventures and quests and growth and gold medals and booby prizes and emotion and service and care and character. All of those are Technicolor words. (Tom Peters’ TIBs)

“Excellence and the highest levels of performance in the arts, sciences, sports and business,etc. have always been an object of fascination to both scientists and people. Only during the last 20 years have scientists studied these levels of performance in the laboratory in order to identify their mediating mechanisms. Contrary to the common belief (that only innate talents are the critical factors for exceptional performance), researchers have found that acquired skills, knowledge, and physiological flexible adaptations in response to intense practice are the primary mechanisms, mediating the highest levels of performance.”  – Karl Anders Ericsson, The road to excellence.

Do Experts excel? 

“In 1976, a fascinating event referred to as the “Judgment of Paris” took place. An English-owned wineshop in Paris organized a blind tasting in which nine French wine experts rated French and California wines—ten whites and ten reds. The results shocked the wine world: California wines received the highest scores from the panel. Even more surprising, during the tasting the experts often mistook the American wines for French wines and vice versa.

Two assumptions were challenged that day. The first was the hitherto unquestioned superiority of French wines over American ones. But it was the challenge to the second—the assumption that the judges genuinely possessed elite knowledge of wine—that was more interesting and revolutionary. The tasting suggested that the alleged wine experts were no more accurate in distinguishing wines under blind test conditions than regular wine drinkers—a fact later confirmed by our laboratory tests.

Current research has revealed many other fields where there is no scientific evidence that supposed expertise leads to superior performance. One study showed that psychotherapists with advanced degrees and decades of experience aren’t reliably more successful in their treatment of randomly assigned patients than novice therapists with just three months of training are. There are even examples of expertise seeming to decline with experience. “- K. Anders Ericsson, Michael J. Prietula, Edward T. Cokely, The Making of an Expert (read the article here>>)

Properties of Excellence

INTEGRITY – Match behavior with values
Demonstrate your positive personal values in all you do and say. Be sincere and real.

FAILURE LEADS TO SUCCESS – Learn from mistakes
View failures as feedback that provides you with the information you need to learn, grow, and succeed. 

SPEAK WITH GOOD PURPOSE – Speak honestly and kindly
Think before you speak. Make sure your intention is positive and your words are sincere.

THIS IS IT! – Make the most of every moment
Focus your attention on the present moment. Keep a positive attitude.

COMMITMENT – Make your dreams happen
Take positive action. Follow your vision without wavering.

OWNERSHIP – Take responsibility for actions
Be responsible for your thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. “Own” the choices you make and the results that follow.

FLEXIBILITY – Be willing to do things differently
Recognize what’s not working and be willing to change what you’re doing to achieve your goal.

BALANCE – Live your best life
Be mindful of self and others while focusing on what’s meaningful and important in your life. Inner happiness and fulfillment come when your mind, body, and emotions are nurtured by the choices you make.

Failure before breakfast

Reward excellent failures. 

Punish mediocre successes. 

Failure is not an option, is the main road to excellence.

Every success book, seminar or life coach out there can tell you that failure is just a stepping stone towards excellence. And they’re right. It is. But that simple piece of information won’t help you. Information is power only when applied in real-life situations. In this case, that means being able to view failure for what it really is: feedback. You then simply extract different lessons from that feedback and you’re on your way to Excellence.

Performance Evaluation Rating

Exceed Expectations:

Exceed requirements of the position and perform at maximum levels of effectiveness (more than 50% of work hours). They exhibit leadership behaviors consistent with company values. They are often considered role models. Typically they are innovative, bringing new ideas or processes to the department/team which benefit the company.

They are creative problem solvers implementing new ways of working or processing information to make a significant positive change. They exhibit exceptional depth and breadth of knowledge, highly recognized by others within the community and can be described as “distinguished,” “remarkable,” and “extraordinary.” They exhibit exceptional quality while meeting challenging demands.

AMP will use their IWAM & VSQ profile to design the Model of Excellence.

Meet Expectations:

Employees in this category consistently meet and/or exceed requirements of the position and perform in a fully satisfactory and reliable manner. Performance in this category reflects employees who successfully do their jobs while at the same time demonstrating leadership behaviors consistent with the company values. Performance is consistent, resulting in a regular, ongoing achievement of the established standards. Performance by this employee enhances the opportunity for the department to achieve its goals. They can be described as “knowledgeable,” “initiator,” and “reliable.”

Managers may also consult with AMP for upgrading assistance.

Need Improvement:

Inconsistently meet established norms and standards for the position or may regularly fail to meet one or more of the established standards and goals for the position.

Performance is not at expected level and/or was not done in a way that demonstrates the company values. The employee meets some of the minimum requirements of the position, but may need to improve performance to meet expected levels in some areas of performance. This category includes employees who may be new in their job and learning new skills and/or employees who need to improve and develop in their job. Immediate and sustained improvement is required for staff in this category.

Managers of these employees should be meeting with the employee on a frequent basis. Managers may also consult with AMP for additional assistance.

Leading Is Helping Others Excel 

“The role of the director is to create a space where the actors and actresses can become more than they’ve ever been before, more than they’ve dreamed of being.”—Robert Altman, Oscar acceptance speech

The “business” of leaders at all levels is to help those in their charge develop beyond their dreams—which in turn almost automatically leads to “all that other stuff,” such as happy customers, happy stockholders, happy communities.
To start the ball rolling, change every performance review into a two-part process, the first in which there is a rigorous evaluation of the employee—and the second of which is a rigorous review of your own efforts to help that employee forward.


Make believe…

“Excellence is the Result of Caring more than others think is Wise, Risking more than others think is Safe, Dreaming more than others think is Practical, and Expecting more than others think is Possible.”
― Ronnie Oldham

“A minute. You ‘achieve’ Excellence by promising yourself right now that you’ll never again knowingly do anything that’s not Excellent—regardless of any pressure to do otherwise by any boss or situation.”

-Tom Watson, IBM

“We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life.”
― Steve Jobs

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”
― Michelangelo