Friday, May 15, 2009

restless discontent with mediocrity

This past Saturday at our CTX graduation, Rev. John Nunes of Lutheran World Relief, referred to our President Tom Cedel as a "man who has a restless discontent with mediocrity." What a great phrase - and what an apt description of Concordia's president - and what an apt description of great leadership.

It was Jim Collins who wrote in his book Good to Great that the enemey of GREAT is GOOD. How many times do people feel as if it is "good enough?" How many times do peopel settle for less than greatness? How many times are people satisfied with thier own performance, others' performance, or the performance of their organization? Striving for excellence is the hallmark of a great organization - and of a great leader.

How does one's "restless discontent with mediocrity show itself? Here are several thoughts to consider:
  1. debriefing after every event, noting what could be done better, and then DOING it better the next time around
  2. rewarding people for trying out new ideas and concepts - even rewarding them when they fail to achieve all of the results hoped for
  3. defining and talking about what EXCELLENCE means to your organizaton
  4. continually asking the question, "What else can we do?"
  5. taking "experts" out to lunch and picking their brains
  6. holding everyone accountable to the vision; in other words, are we doing what we said we would do - and if not, why not?
  7. having a vision
  8. asking a lot of questions of everyone you know - both within and outside of the organization

So where are you today? Are you only seeking excellence - OR - are you practicing a restless discontent with mediocrity? I think they look different - and make a difference - for yourself and for your organization.

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