Sustaining excellence – always more to be done

Even when you think you’ve made it – there’s always more to be done

sustaining excellence
The New Zealand rugby team (the All Blacks) finished the 2013 season of internationals unbeaten (Played 14; Won 14). That’s unprecedented in modern international rugby – and yet, when they conducted their post-season review of the year, the NZRU did not grade their performance at A+ (as you might expect). They highlighted the fact that there was still work to be done to improve.

In their view, even a perfect score leaves room for improvement – which is a great analogy for sustaining excellence in business too!

The market place, the economy, technological developments all create changes in your business environment. Therefore, like the All Blacks, you can never allow any perception of pre-eminence to be an excuse to rest on your laurels.

Even if you are delivering to plan (or better) is your business fully tuned-in to what is happening around you? In other words, how is your external focus?

External focus is not just about understanding your competition, your customers and prospects. It requires a much broader perspective. One that ensures you are attuned to what is happening in the broader business environment, so that you can utilise change to your competitive advantage.

There is a considerable body of evidence to show that businesses that build a high level of external focus into their culture consistently outperform their competition over the long term. The reason? These businesses constantly assess changes in the wider environment to see what impact they might have on them, their competitors and the behaviour of their customers and prospects.

They are always ready to make changes, be innovative, even to break their business model in order to stay ahead of the curve.

What about you? What do you do to ensure you have the right leadership mindset? How much is constructive disruption part of your modus operandi? Is there sufficient empathy and confidence throughout your organization to believe you will continue to be successful by not continuing to do what you have always done?

Organisations focused on sustaining excellence refuse to become complacent even when bold targets are comfortably within reach. These are the true high performance businesses. Remember the performance ethos of the All Blacks: play the perfect game – then repeat that performance week after week, month after month, while continuously seeking out further areas for improvement.

Author: Andrew Hall