In my May 5th posting I talked about my training at the University of Virginia Leadership Development Program and the Senior Executive Institute. These programs teach “principled-centered” leadership (much like Steven Covey) where great leaders embrace, emulate and leverage those values that make great organizations possible. The program describes the types of values that are evident in great organizations but it is careful to not suggest that one size fits all. Instead, it challenges each leader to understand their value systems in the context of the culture of the organization and work to build a foundation of values that enables the organization to elevate from good to great.
With that in mind, I spend a fair amount of time thinking about my values in the context of the culture of the City of Kent organization. One of the key beliefs that I am trying to inject in the veins of the city organization is excellence in everything we do. Here’s what I believe about excellence.
Excellence starts with a belief that there isn’t a right way, only a better way – and finding it takes people that push the limits on what’s possible and always try to deliver more than they promise.
For those people excellence is not just a work-thing, it’s a way of life. It’s is a statement of who they are, what they represent and how they want to be remembered. It’s a matter of pride.
The truth is excellence isn’t a miracle moment or random dumb luck; it’s get up every day at 5:00 a.m. and sweat the details luck. It’s going the extra mile, refusing to settle for second rate, and getting it done right the first time. No one asks them to do it. No one has to.
At the end of the day excellence is knowing you gave everything you had because what you do matters. You make a difference.
It is this excellence factor that makes a city a special place. To everyone that visits or calls a city home, excellence is all those little things that it does better than anyone else. It’s the city’s edge.
Excellence is a culture and a way of doing business. It’s what good government is all about.
When Good Enough, Never Is.
For example, when it comes to taking care of the public water system there are no shortcuts. The work has to be right 100% of the time, period. Achieving that standard means doing whatever it takes – often in miserable conditions – because excellence is the only option.