“Not being able to do everything is no excuse for not doing everything you can.” – Ashleigh Brilliant
No one in a leadership role ever says, “I really hope we can work hard to make this organization mediocre.” No one. We’re taught from an early age that we should want to be great, that we should not settle for anything less than excellence in our organizations. And that’s absolutely correct.
Sometimes, though, we get confused about what that means. Striving for excellence doesn’t mean we find the one thing we can do that’s perfect and once we’ve done it everything will be great and our entire organization is now world-class. It doesn’t mean that unless we find the perfect solution for each problem we encounter, we don’t act.
Too many leaders fall into that trap. If the potential actions don’t perfectly solve the problem, then they refuse to try them. “Why bother”, they say, “when it’s really not going to fix anything?” But what they actually mean is, “why bother when it’s really not going to fix everything?”. And therein lies the problem.
Rarely is there a solution that will fix everything. There are times in our businesses and our lives where some magical thing appears and, amazingly, if completely fixes whatever is wrong about the situation. But that’s pretty rare.
More often, here’s reality: fixing our problems, or achieving our goals, or attaining excellent performance, happens through a serious of steps we take. None of the steps solves everything on its own, but taken together and in sequence they allow us to attain our vision.
Think of excellence like a ladder. Rarely do you go from the bottom rung to the top in one step. If you want to get to the top, you have to take all the steps on the way. Only after each step, in order, will you get where you’re going.
Think about the challenges facing your organization. Are you failing to act because you don’t have “the perfect solution”? Are you operating at less than your best because you don’t think you can get to your best in one incredible step? Are you willing to take the smaller, less glamorous steps that are necessary to reach your goals?
Your organization can achieve whatever you want it to. It may not be able to achieve it all today. What less than perfect steps can you take today that get you started?