Excellence is not a skill, it’s an attitude

Steve Jobs once said

“We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? So this is what we’ve chosen to do with our life.”

Striving for excellence is an important part of professionalism in any job and is crucial for any superyacht captain/engineer. It involves trying to put quality into everything you do, and this attitude tends to separate the achievers, who make rapid strides in their career from others. Excellence is about having a positive ‘can do’ attitude, a willingness to work hard to achieve goals, a pride in your own work and a desire to do your best. It is also about be able to make mistakes and learning from them.

Excellence is therefore a mindset, here are some of the attributes that can help you achieve Excellence!

Initiative

  • Use initiative to act on opportunities. Become a leader before other people view you as one. Healthy organisations reward those who take the lead, not just those with formal management roles.
  • Take responsibility for own objectives: set priorities.
  • Display a “can do” attitude even in demanding situations.. Try to solve problems, rather than to pass them on to other people. First answer is ‘yes, I’ll make it happen’ .
  • “Go the extra mile” when asked to do tasks. Go beyond your job description. Do work that gets you noticed.
  • Show enthusiasm: this will be noticed and you will eventually be rewarded.
  • Take ownership of problems: anticipate potential problems, take pre-emptive action and act quickly to resolve problems.
  • Introduce improvements to the way things are done.
  • Develop innovative practices. Value innovative thinking.
  • Learn new skills that will enhance capability.
  • Common sense is not common! Inspiring, positive, determined!
  • Give assistance to others. Respond positively to requests for help.
  • Clarify the way forward for others.
  • Empower others: great people help others to become great whereas weak individuals try to hold others back.
  • Recognise that each person has a unique perspective.
  • Have self confidence and inspire confidence in team members. Believe the team will be successful.
  • Remain self-motivated even when things are going wrong.
  • Recognise and draw attention to contributions from team members and give positive feedback.
  • Maintain networks of colleagues. Get to know as many people in your industry as you can.
  • Learn from your mistakes: they are just as useful as your successes
  • Watch others who do their job really well and try to emulate what makes them successful.

Quality and professionalism

  • Check the quality of your own work.
  • Set out a clear vision of what is required for success.
  • Compare the risks and benefits. Take calculated risks
  • See the bigger picture.
  • Give priority to customers. (In this case your Owners and Guests)

Negative performers

  • Are content to leave performance at existing levels: have little interest in developing their skills further.
  • Disown responsibility for their own tasks.
  • Distance themselves from responsibility for the team’s performance.
  • Give up in the face of obstacles and don’t demonstrate a sense of personal responsibility for delivery.
  • Take a narrow focus, taking decisions in the interest of their own team or self
  • Are risk adverse: undermine confidence by focusing on difficulties, problems and obstacles.
  • Act as if ‘knowledge is power’: reluctant to pass on their skills to others
  • Don’t involve team members where appropriate.
  • React to symptoms rather than trying to understand the underlying causes.
  • Are resistant to change
  • Avoid difficult conversations and confrontation.

HAVE YOU GOT A POSITIVE OR A NEGATIVE OUTLOOK?

  • When optimists encounter a setback they are less likely than pessimists to just give up.
  • Optimists tend to respond to disappointments such as being turned down for a job by formulating a plan of action and asking others for help and advice; whereas pessimists tend just to give up.
  • People who have an optimistic mind set achieve more positive outcomes than those with a negative mind set.
  • People who believed that they could achieve a certain goal did so in 80% of cases whereas people who did not believe they could achieve their goal only achieved it 20% of the time. Optimists were found to put in more effort, were more persistent and acted more creatively to find ways to overcome problems.
  • Optimists handle stress better than do pessimists. Have a sense of well-being and improved health and have better coping skills during hardships

How to turn a negative outlook into a positive one.

  • Cultivate a “can do” approach. Take greater responsibility for your decisions and actions. Don’t pull yourself down: focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t. Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. Use positive language: praise and show appreciation of others.
  • Take regular exercise: this will release endorphins – brain chemicals which make you feel good.
  • 80% of the things that we worry about never happen and most of those that do we learn how to cope with. Worry is about the future, not the present. When a problem arrives we learn to cope with it.
  • Remember what you like about yourself. Looking at the glass as half empty rather than half full can make you focus on trivial problems. To every disadvantage there is a positive advantage: remember that challenge = opportunity. Make a SWOT analysis(Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats).
  • Action generates the impetus for further action. The more you take control of your circumstances, the better you will feel.
  • Resilience involves reacting positively to negative outcomes. Learning to cope with adversity makes you stronger: helps in teaching us how to bounce back. The most successful people are often those who have had the most failures: they are more adventurous and learn from their mistakes. If you have never had a failure, you have never taken a risk. Failures should be thought of as opportunities for learning: you learn far more from your failures than from your successes.