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DRESSED IN EXCELLENCE!

Aristotle

For many in the advisory business, July and August offer a time to take stock, plan for the 4th quarter of the year and of course take a well earned holiday and enjoy some down time. From both client work, as well as my personal experience of running my own consulting practice, I often notice that this planned “quiet time” offers a great opportunity for fresh thoughts, reflective learning and creative ideas for the coming months. In a way, it’s an opportunity to re sharpen the pencil from a focus and strategic perspective.

During a recent coaching session with a client, we were having a conversation that touched on focus and were discussing various initiatives and strategies around enhancing the overall performance of the team that my client leads. He mentioned the phrase “dressed in excellence” to convey a holistic commitment to excellence that he and his team are aspiring to. I had never heard this exact phrase before and I really liked it. The concept of being “dressed in excellence” is all about the commitment to excellence on a consistent basis. Regardless of the context, it’s about developing a mindset of excellence that strives to constantly improve and find ways to enhance the quality of how things are done and how life is lived.

This commitment to excellence doesn’t have to be anything grand, expensive or overly time consuming. Often it is the simple, logical improvements that are right before our eyes and 100% within our control that can add tremendous value. A personal example of where a simple change made immediate sizeable gains happened 3 years ago. I was planning to cycle the 2,000km Wild Atlantic Way from Kinsale to Derry over a period of 11 days with some friends. During my preparation, I realised that a simple upgrade of my 10-year-old bike might add some extra efficiency to my efforts given the relatively long distances we would be covering each day. So about 4 months before we set off, I invested in a new bike and I was blown away by the difference it made. The new bike didn’t make me any fitter but what it did do was enable me to get the most out of my existing fitness levels. This meant I could cycle for longer with less fatigue. Simply put I was using my resources in a more efficient manner. Dressed in excellence might not immediately come to mind  - more like dressed in dodgy bike spandex! But the mindset behind upgrading my bike, was simply to do everything I can to enhance my performance (legally of course) and ultimately my enjoyment of the experience!

So in the context of “dressing” your business or your team “in excellence” perhaps taking a little time to consider some of the simple enhancements you could make in any of the following areas might be very beneficial in positively influencing your business going forward:

VISION

- Are you and your team clear on the business vision?

- Where do you want the business to be 3 years from now?

PURPOSE

- What is the purpose of your organisation?

- What is its “reason for being” and how does this make the world a better place?

CONNECTION & ENGAGEMENT

- Are your people personally connected to the purpose of your business?

- Do they bring a piece of their soul to work every day?

- Does their work enable them to express some of their personal values?

- How connected and engaged are they to your business?

- How are your people doing as human beings? Are they happy?

STRENGTHS

- Are you and your people aware of what your core energising strengths are?

- Are you aware of your top 3 strengths that are most relevant right now?

- Are these strengths being used every day by people in their current roles?

- Are people stretching these strengths to develop them further?

- Are you and your team aware of how these strengths can potentially become a performance block?

ALIGNMENT

- Is there coherent alignment of the first 4 areas outlined above within your organisation?

- Are these calibrated properly to achieve the goals you are striving for?

- If not, what gaps exist and how will they be addressed?

- Are there any additional skills, resources or incentives required?

The biggest challenge many of us face in running our business is making time to spend “on the business” versus spending too much time “in our business”. No matter what the arena, be it sports, music, business etc., a commitment to excellence requires us to exhibit certain behaviours every day. Knowledge is not necessarily the hard part. For example the questions I am posing above might not be new to you and the good news is that you probably have most of the answers. The more challenging piece is applying the knowledge and making time to translate this into sustained meaningful behavioural change.

Using the “quieter” months of July and August to consider how this desired behavioural change will be achieved, might just be a very wise investment of your time!

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