Exceptional Excellence or World Class

Do you tell your team you want to be “World Class”?  If you do, let me try to persuade your thinking and change your goal.   To me, World Class means you are have achieved a standard of quality attained by many other organizations making it unexceptional. Being 1, 2, or 3 in the world is really what matters and is exceptional.   For example, lots of athletes are World Class and make it to the Olympics.   Only the ones that bring home a medal make it in the Nike commercial.   Is the goal to have excellence above everyone else or achieve a level of excellence that is expected at a minimum to enter the world stage? 

Clearly stating that you want to be above everyone else and achieve a performance level that sets you apart is a motivating and elevating force.  You can easily measure if you are the best in the world at your trade.  This is far different and than saying “folks, lets reach a level of performance that is also attained by thousands of other organizations around the world.  We want to be just like everyone else.”  That is what you are saying when you say “world class”.   It sounds good but does little to raise the bar.  

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