Leading Ideas: Look for Excellence in Others

“By appreciation, we make excellence in others our own property.” — Voltaire (1694-1778) French writer, influenced the French Revolution

Last week I had dinner with a friend who has owns a successful ad agency in New York City. At one point we got to talking about what has made him a successful leader. I asked him, “If you had to boil it down to one thing, what would you say is the most important thing you do?” He reflected for a minute and then gave an interesting answer. He said, “For me it comes down to 3 words – Look for Excellence. The one thing I can say, beyond the shadow of a doubt, is that when I’m actively looking for the excellence in others, things always work better. Creative ideas just flow and new possibilities come out of thin air. When I stop doing that, things always suck.” I just laughed. Well said.


Consider this:

When you take the time to appreciate and articulate the excellence you see in other people, it often shifts your perception of them. You become clear about their unique strengths. You understand what drives them. As well, you do something else that’s less obvious, but just as important. You make their excellence yours. Meaning that you internalize it. It becomes a part of you. And as a result, it changes what you see as possible.

Try this:

1. Think of the people around you
2. Think of what each of them is good at doing
3. Reflect on how that contributes to you and your success each day
4. Acknowledge them for their contribution.
5. Always keep your eyes open for the excellence in others.

Question: How often do you look for the excellence in others?