Monday, June 4, 2012

Excellence is Action

Posted on Monday, June 04, 2012 by International Coach Federation

Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well. John W. Gardner

The speed with which we make a decision in an organization is vital. But, if a manager tries to excel in his business, he won’t forget about the importance of planning, building strategies or the analysis of an idea before it’s applied. However, for a successful person, every minute counts and an additional day of planning mean a delay in the action itself. Therefore, it is essential to decide how much time we spend giving feedback, how much we spend for planning and how much we spend doing something right now. Lately, I had the opportunity of closely observing this fact with the help of Adina.

She works in a company that sells software products and for a while now, the business has been running slow. Adina thought that the reason would be the mistakes she did in the past and so, she decided to hold meetings with her employees and discuss these mistakes. In four weeks, Adina made sure that every key employee is aware of what went wrong, by giving them constructive feedback on their work. For the next month, Adina tried to figure out an action plan that would work. Now that they were aware of the mistakes, they needed a new direction. But nobody could agree upon a certain plan, as everyone had a good idea and it was difficult to decide which was better. It was only after a few weeks that an actual plan was created. But it was too late… Adina noticed that the business situation had gotten worse, which meant that her previous plan could not be applied.

In the end, she realized that the only thing missing wasn’t another plan, but action itself.

One of the main reasons that make excellence hard to achieve is that we tend to focus on the mistakes we made in the past, then concentrate too much on the future, which leaves no time to do anything in the present. This way, we lose valuable time giving feedback on the things that can be changed and planning excessively, and forget that the most important moment is actually the present.

Just like Irving Fischer said in his Fischer effect theory that revolutionized the economy: the present monetary value is higher than the past monetary value, or the future one; the money you have now are more valuable than the money you had yesterday, or the money you can have tomorrow. We can apply this concept to our business excellence: what you can do now is more important than what you did before or what you can do in the future.

Rodica Obancea, ACC
In other words, excellence relies on our ability to weigh how much time we spend on planning so that we can act now, in the present. The challenge is to have equal time for planning, action and evaluation. In fact, all excessive plans and delays are another way of saying that you don’t trust your actions and you are afraid of failure. But excellence does not necessarily rely on outstanding ideas or amazing strategies or plans, it depends on simple things, upon which you know when and how to act.

- How can you act NOW to make a difference in your organization?

Rodica Obancea, ACC, is passionate about change, emergence, living systems. She works within business environment, with managers, teams for achieving ambitious results. For more information, visit

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