How to reach excellence

May 1, 1999

Pharmaceutical Representative

12 factors that contribute to achieving personal and professional excellence.

Walking the road to excellence requires that we exceed customers' expectations. And customers mean both internal and external customers. People you work with are just as important as customers on the outside of your organization. As managers and reps, you need to exceed their expectations.

There are three reasons why this is necessary. First and foremost, you need to differentiate yourself. There are more and more sales reps and sales managers calling on customers, and you want to stay above the crowd by doing a better job and distinguishing yourself. Second, it's important for your intrinsic feelings. You get paid x amount of money, but you really do your job because you get a kick out of it. So, whether it is pride in your job, personal growth or self-fulfillment, strive for excellence for yourself. And third, it's important that you make a contribution to your work group and to your company.

There are 12 factors that contribute to achieving personal excellence.

Twelve factors

Personal development. The first step begins within yourself. You must make the decision to personally prepare for the upcoming journey by making changes within yourself that will make possible the changes we want to make within your group, work environment and organization.

Vision. Create your personal picture of what you want to be and what you want your future to look like. The clearer the picture, the easier it will be to make the daily choices and decisions that will get you where you want to go. It expresses your values and what you hope to contribute.

The right attitude. Attitude is a choice you make. For your life to be full and worthwhile, you must enjoy your work, look forward to it, and draw personal satisfaction from it. You need to take chances and make changes. You will change the way you view your job and the purpose of your work when you see challenges as an opportunity for growth, learning and improvement.

Creativity. Creativity is not so much a talent as a way of thinking, something that can be learned and expanded. It involves the willingness to experiment and make changes, a confidence in one's own skills and capabilities and the ability to adapt useful ideas to our own circumstances.

Supportive relationships. You need to listen, to take time to hear what the other person has to say. It's far more effective to see yourself as a partner with others on a similar path. Take the time to think about how you interact with others - are you giving their needs and concerns top priority?

Nurturing the spirit. Spirit involves energy, enthusiasm, desire and commitment. It is what moves you. Your spirit - and the spirits of the people around you - needs attention and nurturing.

Leadership. Make firm decisions to move from the role of manager/supervisor to that of a leader/manager. Look for the good that is within everyone. Create a culture or environment that is supportive of learning, encourages risk-taking, develops empowerment and does not blindly punish failure. Encourage celebration and having fun. Welcome change.

Customer focus. Give customer needs and concerns top priority. Study, and constantly improve work processes to exceed customers' expectations. Move toward a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust. Take proactive steps toward helping customers achieve their business needs and critical success factors.

Teamwork. The most important ability is the ability to work with others. A team is a group of two or more people who are enhancing each other's strengths; who are learning and achieving more together than they would alone. They are synergistic. There is a commitment by the individual to the team and a commitment by the team to each individual. They have set goals together and know their individual roles and responsibilities. They are accountable for the results.

Process and results. Spend time developing and improving processes as well as looking at bottom-line results. Find a process to improve. Organize a team that knows the process. Clarify current knowledge of the process. Understand causes of process variation. Select the improvement process. Establish measurements.

Trust and open communication. Trust is firm reliance on the integrity, ability and character of another person. You must trust yourself, your beliefs and your intuitions. Trust is earned. Openness in communications is essential to establishing trust.

Quality. Quality is a never-ending cycle of constant improvement to reach excellence that exceeds the expectations of all customers, both internal and external. PR