Nick Cerda

Live well. Lead well.

Demand Excellence

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Demand sounds like such a bratty word. I envision a kid standing with his mom or dad at the checkout line demanding in a loud and whiny voice that he get the candy bar. When his mother tells him “no” he whines louder stating that he is entitled to it in some way.

Regardless of the negative connotations of the word I chose to use it here.

Demand Excellence.

Demand- to ask for with proper authority.

  • In your personal endeavors demand excellence by creating standards and habits that will produce excellence.
  • In your hobbies, for me it’s exercise, demand excellence. Toward the end of a hard tempo run my body is telling me to slow down but with proper authority over my body my brain demands excellence and finishing well. I never regret finishing well.
  • On your projects that you have control over (proper authority) or the portion of the project you are working on you should first demand excellence of your work. Don’t settle for less than the best you are capable of. Demand it of yourself…even when it hurts. (tweet that)
  • If you are an entrepreneur, manager, team leader, or have any other role where you are over a person or group of people you owe it to them to demand excellence from their performance. If you’ve followed the first three bullet points above you aren’t asking of them anything you aren’t asking of yourself nor are you asking beyond your proper authority. You were put in your position to do a job and you should work to do it with excellence.
  • If you are on a team, work under a supervisor, or are a direct report you owe it to them and to your company to demand excellence of them. Do this carefully, with honor and respect deserving of the position but again you aren’t asking of them any more than you are asking of yourself. This is more art than science, ask questions, share resources, ask for clarification, make recommendations and by all means if you don’t understand something or agree with something SPEAK UP. Yes, there will be resistance but it’s worth the fight. For an extremely outdated but interesting video check out the Abilene Paradox.

Excellence- Outstanding quality or merit

  • Excellence means admitting mistakes, making the effort for improvement and being able to collaborate with others.
  • Excellence means being heard and not needing to be “right”.
  • Excellence insists on the conversation or conflict but not on a particular outcome.
  • Excellence is not perfection. In fact, the pursuit of perfection is often the enemy of excellence.
  • Demanding excellence from people does not mean being demanding or demeaning.
  • A leader who demands excellence is empowering not overpowering.
  • Excellence is willing to slow down to be faithful to the process not rush ahead toward the outcome.
  • Excellence is not afraid to “ship” but takes it’s time to do it right.
  • Excellence is not a one man project, it demands a team.

 Excellence. Demand it first from yourself then explore ways you can demand it from others. Make no mistake, it must be demanded, fought for, every inch you gain of excellence will come with a fight. But it’s a fight worth having!

About Nick Cerda

I'm Nick Cerda; I help people take the next step to fulfill dreams and live better lives. My wife and I live in Asheville, North Carolina with our 3 children. Follow me on twitter, friend me on facebook, or email me.

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