Service or Excellence

Service v. Excellence: Valuable Values, Especially When Integrated

Today we continue with our discussion of Will of Widget & Co. You may remember that Will’s 2nd tier of values were service and excellence. Will identified service as his 2nd most important personal value. Excellence was the 2nd of the corporate values for Will.

Both have merit. It is important to note that all values have merit. This isn’t a question of good or bad. Each of us have developed the values that mean the most to us. Those things evolve with life experience.

When aligned, our values allow us to navigate disruption, make decisions and show up authentically in every facet of our lives.

However, when those values are not expressed, or worse yet, we choose to act in conflict with our values, our stress levels increase with our executive functioning impaired.

In this example of the fictitious Will, of Widget & Co, the values of service and excellence can align. But, do they? Will’s values of service and excellence sometimes conflict. Which has the greater weight in the values hierarchy? We know that conflicting values increase stress. This has an impact on executive functioning. When our brains are overloaded, it is more difficult to make decisions.

Prioritizing demands the greatest amount of energy from our brains.

In this example, Will has 2 values that he has to prioritize again and again depending on the current circumstances. If Will chooses to follow the path to full integration, he may determine that service is at the heart of the value of excellence. Will may choose to hold service to his employees, team members, customers, and his family as his 2nd most important priority. In delivering that service, he may hold himself to a standard of excellence.

However, he may discover that in some scenarios which he chose to explore at a previous strategy session, that service takes precedence over excellence. For example, in negotiating his employee buy-in, he will strive for the best outcome possible for the most people as opposed to disengaging from an employee buy-in process because it isn’t totally perfect.

Values clarification is an often overlooked, yet an integral part of decision-making. Every leader is responsible for clearly communicating mission, purpose and objectives. Making values that are both personal to the leader as well as those of the team members, a part of the equation increases the engagement and productivity of the team.

Aligned values smooth transitions, like mergers, acquisitions and succession planning. Values that are in conflict, aren’t honored or are diminished show up as competing goals, sabotage and workplace drama. So, it’s worth taking another look, isn’t it?

As always, I would love to coach you and your family, or partner through the preparation process. Call me at 804-372-7575 or contact me via email: You will receive a Get Your Bearings packet, we will schedule a call to review and determine if you are ready to get to work.

Wendy Dickinson

About the Author

Wendy Dickinson is the founder of Ascend Coaching Solutions LLC, a coaching firm that specializes in working with business owners and executives who plan to expand their leadership capacity as their business grows.

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