The Distance Between Good and Excellent May Be Shorter Than You Think

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

good better best - stuart milesWe see many salespeople through our sales workshops, our consultancies and coaching programmes and through our one-to-one sessions by phone or email. The variety of viewpoints and ideas are never-ending and our trainers always find it interesting to determine how their careers will progress as time goes on.

One of our trainers was having a discussion with one salesperson during an activity in a workshop where they were determining what ‘excellence’ in the role actually looked like. We enjoy talking about excellence as a standard, as it is always something we like to aspire to.

The salesperson said something interesting during the discussions. He said that sometimes he feels that he has done his best but his manager is always asking for more. The boss feels that the salesperson has loads more potential but he (the salesperson) feels he is doing well enough at his current performance level.

It got me thinking about this concept of ‘excellence’. It sometimes appears that the real problem is that we accept a level of performance that others consider to be ‘good’ and think that is acceptable. If we have that mindset, we create fake ceilings for ourselves. These ceilings act as a barrier to higher levels of performance, both now and in the future.

In other words, it appears that ‘good’ is the enemy of ‘excellent’.

If that’s the case, we stand the chance of being infected by the ‘good’ bug. This makes us feel content with doing just adequate work, because it looks ok. We don’t do what will actually make us look outstanding because the client, the stakeholder, the boss, the prospect or whoever will accept the standard of work we have produced.

The challenge is that we become blasé about our performance when we have this mindset. It means we cut-off from seeing opportunities for improvement because we think what we’ve done is ‘good enough’. I remember someone saying once ‘good enough, isn’t!’

Think about that for a moment!

If we are really serious about winning new business, identifying what makes the difference between ‘good’ and ‘excellence’ should be high on our agenda. When you’ve completed some piece of work, look at it and ask yourself is it just ‘good enough’ or is there something extra you could do that would place it in the ‘excellent’ mould?

Imagine looking back on your working day and asking yourself, ‘Is there anything I could have done that would have produced a better result today?” If there was, identify what that ‘something’ might have been and vow to improve it by 1% next time. Those one-percent-ers will soon add up and provide a solid route on the journey to excellence. Doing excellent work isn’t something that should happen just once or twice…it should become a habit of yours so you stop accepting ‘good’ as acceptable, and start thinking how it can be the new ‘normal’ in your life.

Excellence is an attitude and has nothing to do with competence or ability. The mindset of excellence will take you further than you will ever imagine in your career. Adopt that mindset now and see what impact it has on your results.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 1 July, 2014

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