Webster’s Dictionary defines Excellence as “the quality of being excellent,” and defines excellent as “very good: extremely good.” So, excellence in business is simply being very good at what one does. Easier said than done since “good” is a relative term and, relatively speaking, all of your competition is trying to be “good” at what you do as well.

According to Excellence in Business, excellence requires constant improvement to current processes, systems, and goals. Excellence cannot be defined in terms that are stagnant or static because true excellence requires innovation and change in order to be maintained. What is excellent today may be mediocre tomorrow; just ask the makers of the best buggy whip from the early 20th Century.

When it comes to excellence as a core value, the act of constantly seeking self-improvement and gaining in knowledge and experience becomes a hallmark of excellence. This can be seen in actions as small as regularly reading relevant trade journals to stay abreast of your industry standards, or taking Internet or college courses to acquire new skills, certifications or abilities. Excellent employees are constantly setting the bar for their fellow co-workers by suggesting areas for company improvement, redefining and streamlining processes, engaging clients in relevant and timely discourse regarding their projects or status of their accounts, and always being willing to step forward to try new things.

Excellence is the most subjective and arbitrary of the five core values in this series. Other qualities can be easily observable and objective; someone is a team player or they are not, they have integrity or they do not, they have a reputation for dependability or they don’t. Whether someone is excellent at what they do, however, is largely a matter of perspective, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from striving for their own personal excellence as a matter of professional and personal pride. The growth and development that comes from striving for excellence is a benefit unto itself whether it is recognized by others or not. Ideally, business excellence is eventually rewarded by other individuals or businesses who are seeking excellence in their partnerships or promotions. On the other hand, stagnation, an opposing quality of excellence, is also noticed frequently by management or business clientele as coworkers or other companies disconnect quickly from those who are complacent or display characteristics of sluggishness.

Excellence may be subjective, but you know it when you see it; it is recognized when you look at an individual for particular measures and think “there’s no comparison,” or when you evaluate a business to decide if you want to partner with them and determine that they are simply the best at what they do. That is excellence. Most individuals do not think in these terms, but the rare person who is constantly striving to be extraordinary will always stand out… a head and shoulders above the crowd.