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What is your own excellence worth to those you lead and those you follow?
Sometimes folks who under-perform have told me they would work harder/faster/better if they were paid more. And then I ask "So, what you're saying is that I can pay you more to get excellence I'm not getting, right?" Invariably, they answer "YES!". And I ask my next question, "Well, how can I know I'll get that if I've never gotten it from you yet? What faith can I have that you'll provide excellence for a price?" At which point they try and find some excellence in their past performance, and many cannot.
And so I lead that situation one of several ways, from counseling an employee who really wants to achieve to notating an employee who just wants a pay raise for no reason. The way I present this, employees really cannot get a raise without merit. No technique is perfect, but this works pretty well, and for some employees it is a wake-up call on how they are approaching their entire work ethic. And perhaps beyond that, in some cases.
For my own career, I use this technique a different way when I ask for a raise or a promotion. I simply start by saying something like "I've really provided you excellence in x, y, z areas with great results for some time now. Agreed? (I usually get "Yes"). And I've done that in good faith, and you've been a great boss/employer. I want to stay motivated to give you even more excellence across more responsibility, but I need you to work with me to help that happen. Effort is something anyone can do--excellence is something few will do, and as one of those few doing that I want a better salary/leadership position/career path. Please help me get that." And the conversation starts, usually with a good result.
And we all know that excellence has its own reward in doing a good job. The value of excellence, however, is a reward in a good job with good compensation. Even great!
Well, back to you: You're excellent, aren't you? Yes? Then lead by examples of excellence to your employees and earn by excellent results to your employers.
And that's the true value of excellent: You!