Updated: Sep 3
"Nil Satis Nisi Optimum"
(Nothing but the best is good enough)
Here are four words that have caused me much internal debate over the years, not least because they are the motto of my football team of choice. Weirdly these words are also engraved on the concrete step of my village shop! I still have no idea of why they are there, but somehow it feels as if they were a sign that the village and I were meant to be together! Anyway, I digress.
Nothing but the best is good enough. For a recovering perfectionist, these words have caused me much pain at times as I continually and doggedly strive for the 'best'. However, mainly through conversations with my brother about the roller coaster performances of our favourite team, I have come to see this phrase as an indicator of determination, effort and intent rather than simply one of outcome or success in the traditional sense. Taking influence also from (amongst others) Dweck's work on mindset, Deci and Ryan's work on Self Determination Theory, Maslow's hierarchy of needs and Edmondson's research on psychological safety, I have come to view quality as a crucial and core principle through which I shape my approach.
I have also been influenced along the way by inspiring conversations with interesting and innovative people. One interaction in particular springs to mind when I think of quality, and a random introduction to a poem that I have come to love. In the course of a discussion with a coach with whom I was working, we were reflecting on the meaning of a coaching philosophy and exploring their influences and experiences. Our conversation prompted this coach to recall how a certain poem had been hugely significant in shaping their behaviour and approach, and in that moment, they sat in front of me and recited the poem with great passion. This moment has stuck with me over the years and I regularly share the poem with others along the way. It is the sentiment of the poem and the meaning I created from it in terms of my principle of quality. It is well worth a read if you have a few minutes, so rather than share the poem, I simply share the link here for you to create your own meaning - The Guy In The Glass.
Anyway, back to the seventh principle.
QUALITY...for me this means that:
“I want to be able to look myself in the mirror at the end of each day and know that I have acted in line with all of my values in everything I did and said. I will not be satisfied unless I know that I have always given of my best, and I believe in the importance of having a growth mind set that embraces effort and failure and the power of learning. Individually, organisationally and culturally, it’s about the best effort; always. I guarantee that my work and thinking will be of the highest quality; I want to be known for delivering exceptional work in exceptional ways. I also believe that the quality of my interaction and communication matter as much as the quality of my work. I will always treat you with respect and demonstrate empathy, although I do expect the same in return. I will lead by example and I will actively seek to show you just what is really possible when you apply yourself with total commitment, maximum effort and absolute belief."
My commitment to bringing this to life in all that I do is to:
Lead by example and always giving my best effort
Embrace opportunity, failure and success with the same enthusiasm and willingness to learn
Set the benchmark high and not being satisfied with anything but the best in terms of commitment and effort
Ask myself if I really have given everything within my power and resource, and not willingly giving up until I have reached that point
Adopt quality as a fundamental way of being and ensuring that all my work meets my own expectations
Know that ‘good enough’ is better than striving for perfect. I will deliver the best I can within the resources I have and know and believe that I am good enough.
As Aristotle so wisely proposed, 'quality is not an act; it is a habit'. Work with me and I promise you, quality comes as guaranteed.