“If not Excellence, What?”

This quote is taken from one of my favourite books of 2010, The Little Big Things, 163 Ways to Pursue EXCELLENCE by Tom Peters. He says that he uses this (second) line in elucidation of Excellence in all of his presentations now.

My reference to Mr Peters and his Love of Excellence (and mine) is not sycophancy on my part. Those people who know me understand that I am not the kind of guy to blow smoke where the sun don’t shine! As my wife says: “What you see is what you get”.

Further, if I thought that the book was full of the usual Guru *stuff*, then I would say so. No the book, and the line which I have quoted, sums up everything about me.

Further, when I say on my Twitter profile that “I have a passion for Excellence” it is not said for effect.

It is my core.

Excellence is not some vaulted, ethereal concept. No, it is, and should be, your raison detre. If not Excellence then what else is there? And please, please, please don’t keep saying “We are the best…[firm]”.

If you don’t aspire to be the most Excellent lawyer, law firm or whatever it is that your clients are buying then what is the driver?

Trading off of your name, reputation or profession is not just so yesterday, it simply won’t wash.

But, as in life, it should be about the striving and not the arriving. You should want to push at the boundaries of everything you do.

“Strive for excellence. Ignore success” Bill Young, professional driver.

Lawyers, of which I was one for 14 years, are an immensely cynical group. They are trained to look into the whites of your eyes and know if you are lying. But, just as equally, your clients know when you are pulling the wool over their eyes. How many times have you found yourself being challenged for the fact that you have not done what you said you should have done? Is that Excellent behaviour?

Excellence is not a goal. No, it is the way we live our lives, ply our trade and treat others. It is about picturing yourself in a completely different way.

If you think this all sounds like mumbo jumbo, New Age crap then ask yourself what promise have you made to yourself and your clients that will ensure you reach the heights of exhilaration in your life – personally and professionally – that will enable you to look back with pride bursting at every corner of your being, rather than just acknowledging that you kept things together (just), were paid well and didn’t get sued.

Excellence is an aspiration but reflected in the way you live out your life on a day to day basis. If you think and act on Excellence it will change the way you think, how you see others and enable you to build something that is fortress like.

“Excellence. Always.

If Not Excellence, What?

If not Excellence, Now, When?”

Tom Peters


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