In Search of Excellence

“Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.” – Pat Riley

Former NBA player and coach Pat Riley knows something about striving for excellence. Just a quick look at his career highlights paints the picture – one of the only University of Kentucky players to make First Team All-SEC twice in his college career. One NBA championship as a player, another as an assistant coach, and five more as a head coach. NBA Coach of the Year three times, head coach of nine NBA all-star teams, and named one of the 10 greatest coaches in NBA history. Pat Riley has surrounded himself with excellence and expected excellence from those around him.

That’s why I love the quote at the top of this article. Riley knows what it takes to achieve excellence, and his formula is available to anyone.

Excellence in an organization is never an accident. It is a constant striving to improve upon what has happened in the past and what is happening now. Excellence is a daily commitment to go farther today than you went yesterday. And excellence is the hallmark of not-for-profits that are accomplishing their mission.

The Japanese philosophy of Kaizen is one of “continuous improvement.” Every one in your organization, from the Executive Director to the front desk volunteer, should constantly seek ways to improve delivery of the mission.

Strive for excellence in your organization. If you’re a board member, create excellence within your board. Raise the bar. The world deserves your best and desperately needs you to accomplish your mission.