Updated: Apr 22
This series of posts highlights Stratascension values and why each one is so important to not only the founder but to any leader that is designing a culture of trust and innovation. I wrote a post a few years ago that highlighted the importance of values in the development of a company and specifically the culture of an entity. Further, that post states," ...the values of a company are only as important as modeled by the company’s leaders on a regular basis. Where the organization presents its values for public consumption but there is a disconnect in the exhibition of those values in daily operations, then we must assume the values are not important..." Never one to not take my own advice or attempt to be the best leader I can, this posits how one can express the value of excellence in their culture.
Stratascension's values; Innovation, Excellence, Integrity, and Empathy are what set it apart from other management consulting firms and we are proud of our culture which informs how we partner with and serve our clients.
There are 3 things you have to know about the pursuit of excellence:
Know the Rules and Maintain the Boundaries
While every area of one’s life can be eligible to pursue excellence, it’s not wise to bundle them all into a general bucket. Pursuing excellence in each of these areas requires varying amounts of focus, intentionality, research, & eagerness (FIRE), which can be exhausting if applied randomly and without any degree of self-care.
This is highly prevalent in instances where new ventures are launched, new markets are entered, or a new project is started. It’s these new areas where the research may be limited and the eagerness is high that one can really over-exert their pursuit of excellence to their own physical and mental detriment.
Know your team
In one’s pursuit of excellence (PoE), it’s best to form your team in a sustainable and strategic way so that if there is a need to pivot or someone on your team has to be replaced you can do so quickly. The idea here is that you select persons based on qualitative traits like shared values, similar backgrounds or educations, and other common qualities.
However, you also select persons based on their positional rank on your path to excellence. More specifically, one would select one or more persons that are positionally ahead, behind, and in pace with you on your PoE. The person ahead of you is one that inspires you to continue on the path because you aspire to be in that person's position. The person behind you is one that inspires you because you have been where they are and giving back or assisting them in their PoE is replenishing and building your spiritual capital. The person that is on pace with you plays multiple roles because that person at times can be a competitor, a counselor, or a cheerleader. In other words, having one or more persons to share experiences with that is exactly where you are in your PoE is integral to your health and well-being.
Please note that none of these are mutually exclusive or are greater than the other, they all play an important role in one’s PoE.
Know that there are no winners or losers there are just participants
Simon Sinek; social researcher and culture commentator talks about the premise of the infinite game vs the finite game; where the finite game is equivalent to our sporting events that are dictated by the results on the scoreboard and are time-bound. This leads to the identification of participants as winners or losers, the infinite game, alternatively, is not limited by time; so there are no winners and losers, just participants.
In your PoE, you don’t lose, you just stop pursuing excellence, which is certainly within your prerogative. However as will be mentioned in the bonus section, one’s credibility comes into question when a PoE is inconsistently applied. One might think that from this infinite game POV, the game ends whenever the participants decide it's over, which has some truth to it but the reality is, the PoE never ends.
When one participant retires or decides not to participate, the opportunity for another participant to step into that pursuit is waiting and welcoming when they decide to take it on.
At Stratascension, we believe excellence is a habit, and therefore it’s something to continually strive for, learn from, and embed into the very fiber of who we are. By no means is this easy but the thought is that by applying the FIRE every day, we learn every day, and what was once a challenge or a stepping stone in our PoE, is now where our innovativeness has improved.
Bonus Section: For those wanting a bit more details into what a PoE should look like and some practical and actionable tips to get started.
A participants pursuit is a visible one;
If it’s not visible their not participating, the FIRE necessary for a PoE is not a passive undercover one. People should not have to figure out what your motive is or be hard-pressed to understand that you are on a PoE. They may question how long you can sustain this particular PoE and if you are applying this PoE in other domains, but these are both questions that can and will be answered over time. If the person with questions continues to watch a person on a PoE for any period of time their questions will be answered by that person's actions and not by verbally responding to any question. A person on a PoE will apply FIRE In a way that is noticeable to the trained and
untrained eye. That person's approach, interactions, and responses (AIR) are all at the level of striving for excellence, meaning this person’s AIR is uplifting and progressing forward & upward.
There is power in consistency;
In my experience, it is better to be an expert than to know a little bit about a lot of stuff. It’s not bad to know a little bit about a lot of stuff but it’s better to be an expert. To be an expert, one has to continuously view the subject manner in a way that is sometimes the same, and sometimes different than everyone else. The way one does that is through consistently picking up the tools and going over the topic as if mining for a tiny nugget, that if found is rare and precious.
The power of consistency as explained by basketball great, Kobe Bryant. His systematic approach to skills improvement also created a mental toughness that allowed him to be a multiple-time champion and one of the greatest of all time.
Further, consider Desmond Tutu's famous quote, “How do you eat an elephant?... One bite at a time,” when thinking of consistency. In this scenario, to complete the task you have to pick up that utensil and place that elephant morsel in your mouth, chew, swallow, and repeat.
It is what you make it and make it your own;
There is no one-size-fits-all PoE. FIRE is necessary to initiate and sustain PoEs and AIR is how it shows up in the world but each participant needs people on their PoE team to help them execute. People are unique beings, to say the least, so to think that my PoE is going to be the same as someone else’s is naive and lazy-thinking (not excellent).
Participants have more control over their PoE than they like to take responsibility for and exercising that control over how they are perceived, in a sub-10-second, show-me-your-best-life clip should be of utmost importance not for the participant, but for those, they care most about. While we can’t control everything, participants on PoEs must understand this concept very clearly; one can only control their effort, attitude, and preparation, and in that you can create a PoE that brings joy, gratitude, and peace to your life and those that share your AIR.
STRATASCENSION was founded on the notion that business is relational and growth is achieved through the deepening of all the micro connections between people, processes, tools, & performance. We want to help small businesses enhance these connections and leverage them for transformation.
If you work with a team and you’d like to find out more about how Leadership Training can help you, then click here. Bring your energy and your questions, and we’ll bring the knowledge and expertise on innovation leadership principles that can help you and your team raise your Leadership Lid.