4 Apr 2023 | 2 min read


Another trait of a high-performance team is never being satisfied with current progress. High-performing teams are always trying to do things better. They are not happy with the status quo. They constantly try to be better, no matter how good they are. Even if it’s perfect, they’re not satisfied. They can always do better. Think of the pit crew in a car race. These guys are experts at changing tires quickly. But are they satisfied with a perfect time? No. No matter how fast they change the tires, they always look to be faster. They aren’t distracted by the other pit crews around them. The only competition they see is themselves. The goal is to beat their own time. Every opportunity they get. It isn’t enough to be the best. They want to top their last time. Excellence is a continuous process. 

How can we develop that same spirit of excellence with our team? 

Start at the top

A spirit of excellence starts with leadership. That means developing excellence begins with you. Everything starts with the leader. As John C. Maxwell puts it, “Everything rises and falls with leadership.” You set the tone in your organization. For excellence to take hold in a culture, it needs to be demonstrated by the culture-setters…the leadership team. 

Make it a part of the culture

Excellence may start at the top, but it needs to be ingrained in the organization’s or team’s culture to make it stick. Going above and beyond has to be noted and celebrated to get started. Look for ways the team goes the extra mile and make it a big deal. Show that leadership values those behaviors. You need to be on the lookout to make this work. That means noticing what happens behind the scenes. Not just on the stage. And that leads to our next point. 

Pay attention to the details

Excellence is in the details. Your team picking up a piece of trash in the parking lot should be as important as treating a customer with extra kindness. Everything matters. A customer’s experience starts in the parking lot. A well-kept environment says a lot about your organization. Focusing on the small things can lead to extraordinary results. Don’t just celebrate the obvious wins. 

Be specific and vague

It’s hard to put excellence into words. How do you describe to your team that you want them to keep beating their own “best”? But leaders must set the standard before asking their people to match or exceed it. That’s why you must be specific about what ideal or excellence means to your organization. And then encourage people to top it. We always encourage leaders to be specific about their standard of excellence and vague about how their team can match those expectations. Why be vague? Because you want to leave room for creativity. Let your team come up with innovative ways to squash the record. Don’t box people in with set practices. Always encourage originality in excellence because that is where the magic happens.