Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected. - Steve Jobs


As a musical conductor, I understand that concert goers want excellence every time we perform…every time. We are only as good as our last performance. Performance is a skill, as well as an art. It’s not striving for perfection. It’s maintaining excellence in standards.


Musicians do what business teams don’t do. We rehearse for every performance. The best musical groups constantly rehearse creating what’s called “ensemble.” That’s a higher level of functioning that only the best performers can achieve. It can’t be directed. The conductor inspires excellence. The ensemble is a reflection of the skill and influence of the conductor.


The leader of a business or social-benefit organization inspires excellence and creates a culture of high performance that reflects the passion and skill of the leader. It a synergy reflected and a new Architecture of Engagement TM.


All of these strategies are based on the leader seeking excellence in all systems and outcomes and not accepting mediocrity. Unfortunately, the standard is not high in many organizations. The leader blames the existing system and the people, when, in fact, the leader is in a place to change those systems and influence how systems and people work.


Excellence is a habit that needs cultivation and inspiration. If we want to change others in the culture we lead, then it’s important to change ourselves. When we change, others in the group adapt. If we don’t accept mediocrity, then we have set the new standard.


Here are a few resources for you to explore how excellence is reflected through visionary leadership:


Berny DohrmannRedemption: The Cooperation Revolution. Berny is the founder of CEO Space where Cooperative Capitalism is taught and practiced. It’s the new standard that will replace the Competitive Capitalism of the Carnegie, Ford, and Rockefeller era.


Seth GodinThis is Seth’s Blog. Seth talks about why labor unions were formed and goes on to challenge unions to work for excellence in performance by not stressing the mediocre.


Marva Dawn, Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down. This was written several years ago about how churches were dumbing down worship to attract the “Young.” After thirty years, those mainland denominations have lost many members due to this dumbing down. Her first chapter is about how education has also dumbed down over the decades.


Alfie Kohn, The Schools Our Children Deserve. This is another challenge to the traditions of dumbing down education through standardized testing. Alfie classifies standardized testing as a form of ethnic cleansing of the culture. The U.S. leads the world in prisons and prisoners incarcerated. Could this be one result of our systems?


Today, we are growing a new breed of leader with integrity in their DNA and excellence as their passion. I’m a Boomer and my generation has created this mess. I’m seeing that Millennials are changing the game.


Is your passion excellence or do you settle for mediocrity?



Hugh Ballou


The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM


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