In nearly every course of life, “Excellence” means to reach a level of performance that is near perfection; to go beyond the ordinary and consistently deliver outstanding results. Whether it be academia, sports, the arts, business, parenting, etc. “Excellence” is a relative term, used to define the best at a particular activity. We can’t know what excellence is if we don’t know what less than excellent looks like.
In his letter to the Church at Philippi, the Apostle Paul, told them (and us) to think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Unlike our contemporary usage of “Excellent,” Paul wasn’t telling us to think about top performers, or those who have distinction. Instead, he was encouraging us to keep top-of-mind the teachings, behaviors, and attitudes that Christ showed to the world, and taught to his disciples.
Real excellence starts with knowing the truth about Christ. Everything else depends on this.
In one of my favorite books, Excellence Wins: A No-Nonsense Guide to Becoming the Best in a World of Compromise, Horst Schulze tells of his experiences as a cofounder and later President and COO of The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company. Ritz Carlton hotels are the epitome of excellence in the hospitality industry. In fact, it was under Horst’s leadership that Ritz Carlton became the first service-based company to be awarded the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award — twice.
However, what makes Horst’s stories genuine is how his faith permeates his words. It’s not until the book’s epilogue that we get full exposure to the source of the world-famous operating and service standards that Horst developed and now teaches about.
“The foundation of God’s truth lies at the center of my life in business. Whether it’s interacting with an employee, a customer, an investor, or even a competitor, I am aware that this person is one of the “others” Jesus had in mind when he gave the Golden Rule about treating them as I would want to be treated.”
As followers of Christ striving for excellence is essential, but not for the same reasons the world has. It’s not so we can “get ahead,” make lots of money, or be recognized. It’s essential because we are representing Christ in all that we do, and people are watching. Let’s strive to be the modern-day best at what we do . . . and then share the source of our excellence, the Master of Truth.
--written by Brian Miller, Founder of Branches Worldwide, President & CEO of ProVia