The Complacency of Excellence All situations, even good ones, present challenges. One challenge many companies face is a willingness to accept their current level of excellence. The challenges faced with both excellence and poor performance can be approached with the same tools. Although leaders at most companies would certainly love to have the challenges created by excellence, this does not diminish the challenges presented. With excellence, often a company becomes stagnant. The employees can begin to accept success as a given. The employees begin to feel that their team is better and smarter than all the competition and want to relish their strong emotions of winning and accomplishment. Business and sports can have many parallels. You all have witnessed a sporting event where one opponent takes a weaker opponent lightly and then displays poor performance. Peak performance requires a strict set of rules to continue the high level of accomplishment and avoid complacency. Here are some rules to gain and maintain excellence. 1. Learn from yesterday to get better for tomorrow and then forget yesterday. For instance, Bobby Knight only allowed his team to celebrate a victory and mourn a defeat until midnight. If you spend all the next day patting yourself on the back until your arm is tired, or you cry all day, either way you missed a day. 2. Get leverage on yourself. Whether you have achieved excellence or you are experiencing defeat. Leverage yourself to keep taking positive action. Are you motivated by pleasure or pain? What are your dreams and goals? 3. Create your own reality. No matter what your level of success or defeat, you can create a new reality. Everything starts in the mind. Your reality may be to sell as many cars but with less effort or time involved. Constantly stretching and challenging the mind is the key to continued success. 4. Educate and motivate. Learning awakens the child in you. The top CEO or entrepreneur is always learning a new angle or thought that propels them. Encourage and lead the way in educating your team. To quote a sign from an office at IBM, “There is never a saturation point to education.” 5. Seek out mentors, coaches and success-minded people. To keep momentum everyone needs pushing, prodding and cuddling. The right people in your life make a huge difference. 6. Look to other industries for models. Seek out companies in other industries that have continually improved, grown and prospered. Success leaves clues; sometimes you may become narrow-minded and only look for clues in your own industry. 7. Quantify to qualify. Numbers and statistics paint stories. If you believe you are at your maximum proficiency, evaluate everything in your business by the numbers, and you will quickly find room for improvement. You must evaluate where you have been, where you are and where you want to go. 8. Ask your customers. Never forget who can provide the best answers for your improvement plan. Stop depending on ineffective factory CSI programs that concentrate on numbers only and that ask silly ‘one-five’ or ‘yes or no’ questions. Randomly sample your customers. Call them and reward them for giving you conversational feedback. Ask your customers to talk to you. 9. Remember the five keys to peak selling performance. Energy and enthusiasm Emotion Humor Empathy Your selling message Success or defeat is simply a created definition. Be willing to redefine your plan and your goals. Behind all goals or accomplishments are desired emotions. Turn your picture of the goal into a red-hot flame to gain and maintain excellence.