Striving for Perfection to Achieve Excellence

By Curtis Sprouse

August 2016

Striving for perfection to achieve excellence is not a new concept. One can find quotes from hundreds of people who have espoused this concept, including Aristotle, Plato, Confucius, Jobs, and Lombardi, to name a few.

As I watched the Rio Olympics, I was constantly reminded of this concept. Over a two-week period, more than 11,000 athletes provided us with numerous examples of individuals who have spent years striving for perfection with the goal of achieving excellence in what in some cases will need to be achieved in seconds.

On occasions, we were graced with performances that seem to deify our very view of perfection. Anyone who has not watched Yana Kudryavtseva (Russia) in her rhythmic gymnastics routine must do so. I watched in amazement as she navigated the floor in unity with her environment and a simple round ball. Mo Farah’s (UK) performance in the 10,000 m run is yet another example of perfection under stress. Farah was tripped by a training partner shortly into the start of the race. He picked himself up off the track and started to run. Not only did he participate, but he ended up winning the gold.

Olympic athletes possess genetic gifts that many of us can only dream of, but it is not always those gifts that often lead them to success or victory (*Excellence). It is their drive and persistence in working towards perfection that allows them to achieve excellence.

Leadership is no different. Most people are built with the gifts that would enable them to become great leaders or at the very minimum, significant contributors in many aspects of their lives. The challenge that most people have is they don’t really understand what their genetic gifts are. The greater challenge that they face is they struggle to understand how to develop learned behavioral characteristics in a way that they can consistently contribute given a broad spectrum of situations.

High-performance leaders and high-performance members of teams balance *Social Acumen and *Situational Acumen. They connect to a broad spectrum of people and personalities in a broad spectrum of situations.

Athletes train in diverse situations so that they can prepare themselves for the unexpected. They strengthen their minds and bodies in a very focused way so that when they are able to engage a diverse set of competitors in changing conditions and circumstances.

Even if you are not a sports fan, I encourage you to watch the Olympics in the future and reflect on how you engage people and situations. I encourage you to watch Usain Bolt’s interview with a Spanish Television station. He stopped the interview during the playing of The National Anthem to pay respect to other athletes form a competing country.

Great leaders demonstrate greatness in all aspects of life. At that moment, Bolt’s extraordinary physical gifts that make him the fastest man in history had nothing to do with the humility, honor, grace and professionalism he demonstrated. I challenge myself and you to strive to achieve at a higher level. I challenge myself and others to spend a little more time working on how we engage our gifts and how we develop our learned behaviors.

Note: *Scores and profiles referenced in this article refer to characteristics defined in theEurekaConnectBehavioral Dynamics program

About the author: Curtis R. Sprouse is the President and CEO of EurekaConnect, LLC. Curtis has spent more than 25 years building companies and consulting for hundreds of the fortune 500 companies.

EurekaConnect, LLCuses proven technologies and data driven solutions that objectively and measurably improve organizational performance.For more information please