For CEO’s and corporate executives excellence is a personal choice not an institutional choice. Leaders who understand and recognize the importance of not only the right strategic solutions and guidance but also personal excellence are more successful more fulfilled and happier. So how do you pursue excellence and what steps can you take to ensure you and your team outshines the competition? Put Employees First Customers Second As a leader you want your organization to be respected for exceptional customer service. And while it doesn’t happen by chance you have more influence than you think because it comes from employees who are engaged and invested in treating the customer right. By putting your employees first and your customers second you’ll reap the rewards of a team that is motivated respondent and excited to exceed your expectations. How do you build connectedness? Practice MBWA or “managing by walking around” to stay in touch and out front with your employees. Ask them what they think how you can help and make listening a priority. Acknowledge and appreciate a job well done and let your people know that you are invested in their success. Be kind and don’t hesitate to apologize when necessary. A heartfelt apology buys invaluable amounts of trust respect and strengthens relationships. Stand for Something Valuable Differentiating yourself in a competitive market can be a challenge but it’s the key to excellence. Learn something new every day and brand yourself to become distinct. Focus on the TGR those “things gone right” for maximum benefit. It’s never wasted effort to spend time on the details that could be valuable differentiators long term. In Gill there’s a restaurant called the Wagon Wheel that makes it a point to keep fresh cut flowers in the restroom ensuring a warm inviting experience for all. Stand for something valuable and give your team reason to do so as well. Master Execution Excellence is all about successful execution- think of it as its own strategy. Mastering how things are done and putting a plan into play is integral to success yet too often leaders devote all of their time to creating a brilliant plan with failed execution. Never forget a leader’s primary job is to execute. Even if you’re unsure of the results try. Try often and fail often to discover what works and what doesn’t. The best execution is part knowledge and part experimentation to get it right. After all the faster you fail the sooner you can succeed. Remember excellence is a personal choice not an institutional choice. It’s not something for you to aspire to; it’s now in the next five minutes. When you’re ready to excel don’t make a plan – just start doing it.