I often hear that leaders should lead by example, and this may be the case. However, if the leader doesn’t have a master plan that includes strategic, then they have already been defeated. No plan means no vision. Leaders are responsible for setting the tone and moving the vision forward.

In my thirty years of being in the nursing field I have seen many leaders delegate their responsibility of executing the plan. Many times, the leader perceives this as burdensome which leads to poor strategy execution. When this happens, the employees will not embrace the strategy resulting in widespread anxiety. If the leader doesn’t believe in the strategy neither will the employees.

Achieving excellence is a mindset. Excellence can be achieved when employees at every level are included in problem identification and corrections of those problems. Excellence needs to be translated into achievable, measurable, and team-focused goals that are doable and have long-term sustainability. Achieving organizational excellence is a journey that utilizes best practices, the right tools and then apply them to the right systems and processes. This ultimately improves the workplace atmosphere.

Here are some ways to assist employees with achieving excellence:

  • Create champions of projects. Champions at every level promotes quality and an inclusive atmosphere of excellence throughout the organization. Champions also promote quality within the organization. Creating champions gives the leader an opportunity to review progress, mentor and coach employees, resolve issues, and ensure the right outcomes are being achieved.
  • Don’t just provide lip service. Model the behavior you wish to see. The leader must be the master champion of executing the plan because if employees’ sense that there’s no commitment, they won’t buy in, and the plan will fail.
  • Don’t lose sight of the journey. Remember, most problems that are identified didn’t happen overnight so it will take time to correct them. Remember, it’s a journey not a race.
  • Be ambidextrous and fluid. As the leader, you must be able to see the big picture and help employees see the big picture of where the organization is going, manage the strategy, and execute the plan. More importantly, you must be able to communicate with employees at all levels in a manner that they can understand. The leader must also be able to alternate between leading and following and vice versa.
  • Recognize excellence: Recognition of excellence should not be based performance but rather growing your employees. Excellence should align with your organizations brand, mission, and overall culture.
  • Invest in your employees – investing in staff can lead to staff who are deeply invested in organizations. According to a Gallup Study, employment engagement is on the rise and hovering around 34% compared to 26% previously. Investing in staff may include professional development activities, workshops or continuing education leads to improved outcomes, improved employee retention, improved financial outcomes, and creates a culture of excellence

Creating an inclusive positive atmosphere of excellence is not just about training. It’s about the organizational cultural experience as a whole. Creating a culture of excellence means creating a culture in which employees can excel at every level and consistently deliver high-level customer experiences.