Focus and Excellence

"Other men will make other violins, but no man shall make a better one." Antonius Stradivarius

What type of work do you do?  I've done a variety of things.  In fact, sometimes I get caught up in what I'm doing so much that I stop doing what I do.  I become someone else, or I play the role of someone else, getting away from my strengths.  I've often said, "Just because I cleaned up the mess, that doesn't mean I'm volunteering to be the janitor." (My apologies to the administrative maintenance profession, but that's how I felt at the time.)

This quote talks about two topics to me: Focus and Excellence.


Stradivarius made violins.  Yes, he did many other things I'm sure.  He played them, he probably taught others how to play them.  Maybe he also got involved in local government or his church or a charity.  I'm sure if he were alive now, he'd attend his grandchildren's soccer games and make public appearances.  But his primary focus, his work and his legacy were wrapped up in making violins.  He had a singular focus.


And because of who he was, on the inside, he made the best violins.  So good in fact, that his last name is synonymous with quality.  According to Wikipedia, "The reputation of the Stradivarius is such that its name is frequently invoked as a standard of excellence in other unrelated fields (such as ships and cars); for example, the Bath Iron Works' unofficial motto is ' A Bath boat is the Stradivarius of destroyers!'"

Core Values

Steve Keating on a webinar yesterday said that your core values are the values you would spend your time on if you were had no need to work.  Focus - ruthlessly identify, compare, force rank and eliminate your interests and passions and get down to your two or three core values.  Then practice and work to become excellent applying them.

A core value of mine is adding value in every relationship.  I want to put more into each relationship than I demand.  When I do that, I receive much.  Most of the rewards are intrinsic, built into the action rather than resulting from it.  There is great reward in giving more than you take.  Try it and see if you can prove me wrong.

At the same time, it's convicting to me to say that only through focus can you achieve excellence. Rip away the things that are distracting you today and focus on what you do so you can do it better than anyone.

Care to go on record?

What are your core values?  Where do you want to become excellent?  Anything I can do to help?

Note: The webinar I referred to is part of the new member's webinar series being offered to Supporting and Contributing partners of the Lead Change Group.  If you'd like to have access to the replays and join us for future webinars, consider supporting the Lead Change Group.

Twitter feed is not available at the moment.