Excellence (Personal Work Standards)


Setting high standards of performance for self and/or others; assuming responsibility and accountability for successfully completing assignments or tasks; self-imposing standards of excellence rather than having standards imposed; ensuring interactions and transactions are ethical and convey integrity. Click here for associated skills and behaviors.

Ways to Demonstrate this Skill

Development Activities

§         Work collaboratively with others to set standards and procedures that achieve a high level of quality, productivity, or service.

§         Involve others (colleagues, customers, etc.) in setting standards for the work done by your area of responsibility. Focus on setting standards that are challenging but achievable.

§         Together with your team, develop criteria for effective performance. Include a list of necessary accomplishments. Track these accomplishments and recognize people for achieving them; coach people who fail to do so.


§         Dedicate time and energy to ensure that no important aspect of the work is neglected.

§         Complete tasks and assignments; when necessary, work to overcome obstacles.

§         List the work that your area of responsibility is expected to perform.

·         Focus your effort on what is important (that which impacts CARE’s vision, mission, values, and objectives), not what is urgent.

§         Approach challenges from a problem-solving perspective and look for alternatives rather than focusing on why things cannot be done.

§         If you have been unable to solve a problem yourself, seek ideas and suggestions from others.


§         Monitor, evaluate and adjust your own work to ensure it meets high standards.

§         Analyze your work and set your own standards, using these steps:

·         Write down your most important responsibilities.

·         Describe superior performance for each.

·         Describe average performance for each.

·         Set your own standards as high as you can between these two levels.

§         Determine where you spend more time: the important activities, the most easily done, or those that appear to be most urgent. Re-focus on the most important.


§         Accept responsibility for the outcomes (positive or negative) of your work.

§         Admit to your mistakes and change what you’re doing when it is appropriate.

§         For your major responsibilities, list undesirable outcomes that could result if you make mistakes or neglected an important part of the work.  Consider how you will accept responsibility for these results.

§         Seek feedback from others on your ability to balance process with getting results. If you tend to focus too much on how things get done, others may see you as not focused enough on achieving results (outcomes).

§         Seek feedback from others on how they perceive your willingness to admit to your own mistakes.


§         Encourage and support others in accepting responsibility for the outcomes of their own work.

§         Publicly support people who admit to and correct their own mistakes.

§        Work collaboratively with others to set high standards of performance for their work.


§         To encourage others to accept responsibility for mistakes or for the outcomes of their work, you must first model these behaviors publicly and consistently yourself.




Developmental Resources


     If you find workshops and/or web-based training a good way for you to learn and develop, and there are funds available, look for opportunities that address the following:

§         Self management and self-development.

§         How to develop and sustain a high level of achievement.

§         How to develop and maintain trust and credibility.

§         How to influence others.

§         Setting objectives.

§         Assertiveness.



     The following books are resources on excellence:

     Cashman, Kevin. (1999). Leadership From the Inside Out. Publisher: Executive Excellence.

     Conlow, R. and Young, G. (1999). Excellence in Management. Crisp Publications (www.crisplearning.com).

     Covey, Stephen R. (1990). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. New York: Simon & Schuster.

     Dawson, Roger. (1997). The 13 Secrets of Power Performance. Enlewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.

     Gallwey, W. Timothy. (2001). The Inner Game of Work. Publisher: Random House.

     Iozzi, Anthony J. (2000). The Personal Success Handbook. Publisher: iUniverse.com.

     Kouzes, J. M. and Posner, B. (1996). The Leadership Challenge: How to Keep Getting Extraordinary Things Done in Organizations. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

     Kouzes, J.M.  and Posner, B.Z. (1995). Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Management.

     Koch, Richard. (1998). The 80/20 Principle: The Secret of Achieving More with Less. New York: Currency.




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