Excellence: Why you need it

Do you want to accelerate your career? Do you want to become a leader in your field? Then you need to cram this word, excellence. Every employer is looking for people who can perform their duties to the best of their ability; individuals who do not settle for mediocrity; individuals who run with the tasks assigned to them to the best of their ability.

I started my career at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) in Kenya. The one thing I learned thing I learned from this job and which has served me well, is the value of developing a great work ethic. You either delivered on the jobs assigned to you excellently or there was no space for you. To date, this lesson defines any former employee of PWC, excellence and a good work ethic.

Unfortunately, many organizations assume that all employees know the value of a good work ethic. This far from the reality. Generation Y are increasingly known for wanting the good things in life, the money, the fame, the success but very few are willing to put in the hours to build this. Unbeknownst to them, the world was coined in such a way that there is no shortcuts. You harvest what you sow; if you sow mediocrity, you will reap mediocrity; if you sow a bad attitude, you will reap the fruits of a bad attitude. In the same way, if you sow excellence, if you give the best of yourself to all you do, then you will reap the best. It is as simple as that.

During one of the Lapid Leaders seminar, Vered Ehsani, a market leader advised the Lapid Leaders to treat their workplaces as if they were their own business. To apply excellence as they would if running their own business. This advice will serve anyone who’s looking to accelerate their career well.

Africa moving away from mediocrity

It’s not just the market place that craves excellent leaders, every aspect of Africa needs excellent leaders. This continent has been plagued by mediocrity for far too long.

It has been said in many forums, it is Africa’s time. What most of these forums do not explain is that it is Africa’s time with or without Africans. And what will distinguish the Africans who succeed is excellence. The opportunities in Africa today are immense. However, this opportunities will only go to those who will apply excellence, hose who will decide to work on building their businesses to world class level. Those who will not compete with Kamau or Omondi next door but who will set for themselves very high standards. Those people will build amazing businesses.

Sharon Mundia,  one of Africa’s young leaders (ThisIsEss) intrigues me. She is building an empire from an interest in the fashion industry. While other continents are plagued by too many bloggers in the fashion industry, it is a virgin land in Kenya and she has managed to snatch it. But what in my mind distinguishes this lady is excellence and authenticity.

Excellence in the fact that when she started her blog she posted on a daily basis, even when only 2 people commented or liked her posts. You go through her blog and you can see the hard work she put in. She is now eating the fruits of that hard work.

Excellence is not perfection

I add authenticity because far too often excellence is confused with perfection. Far from it. Infact the one thing I have learned the hard way, is the beauty of failure and imperfection. The person who falls or knows how to fall and yet shrugs off the dust and tries yet again and this time better than the last, the person who sets their own bar and is unafraid to fall, that’s the truly excellent person. It is not the person who is enslaved by perfection because perfection has no room for authenticity

At Lapid Leaders we value excellence. It is one of our core values. The individuals from the first cohort of Lapid Leaders who demonstrated excellence were nominated for the Lapid Leaders Excellence Award.  Check out this video for the nominees of the first Lapid Leaders Excellence Award.

The winner of the award was Mercy Maina (see her profile here). Why did she win this award? Because of the fact that she makes every effort to be faithful with even the small things. She is far from perfect in her pursuit for excellence. However, it is her desire to live out excellence, her authenticity in failure that makes her an excellence leader.

You too can apply excellence in your marketplace.  If you stop looking at what others are doing and set your own standards, you too can apply excellence in the solutions you provide Africa. Refuse to be mediocre in anything you engage in. Start today, apply excellence to all you do.

Our generation is going to be the generation that builds Africa and take it to the next level. We will set the foundations for even greater works ahead. Excellence is key… we need to do our part so well that it won’t need to be re-done – Mercy Muema, Lapid Leader – Cohort 1

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