Why it is worth making the good great

Five reasons for striving for excellence

15 years ago, one of the most influential classics of modern management literature appeared: ‘Good to Great’ by Jim Collins. Millions of people were inspired by the principles of success which Collins described. So simple at a first glance, so obvious and yet so profound. What this book has triggered worldwide in rethinking and reorientation processes since its publication is almost indescribable.

I was fascinated by the basic idea: do not just be good, rather become great. Leaving average behind you and striving for excellence. “Good is the enemy of better” so goes an old saying. But why is that? Why focus on excellence?

1. Stay flexible

Those who stop trying to be better today are no longer good tomorrow. Times change and with them the framework conditions of every activity. “What is good and right today cannot be wrong tomorrow,” may sometimes be true but often leads to dangerous negligence. Excellence means being the best you can be at all times, in all situations and in any environment. This aspiration is not overwhelming but keeps you alert. It demonstrates where change is necessary. Perfectionism is paralysing but striving for greatness is motivational. Those who continually want to make the good great stay flexible, adaptable, contemporary and relevant. This forms the basis for reason 2.

2. Be sustainably successful

Excellence does not come overnight. Being great requires perseverance. Conversely, the desire to make the good great encourages sticking to it and tenacity. I won’t give up half way. I will also survive hard times and lean years without any serious doubts. That is why excellence does not whither overnight. It creates enough substance, solidity and foundations to survive emergencies and difficulties. Everything connected to excellence is designed for longevity and sustainability. This may not bring rapid success. However, whoever wants to make good great will forego a ‘One Hit Wonder’ in favour of well-founded, consistent success.

3. Raise your profile

In times of surplus supply, the excellent stands out from the good. Making good great then becomes a component of the brand, a flagship and an important point of orientation in the masses. ‘Basic supply’ is now available on every street corner. Those who stand out are those with an aspiration to be the best they can be. Excellence raises your profile, catches the eye and – most importantly – FASCINATES. This is dealt with in reason 4.

4. Be attractive

Great things are always surrounded by a secretive hint of something special. People want to take part, be there, and have more. To maintain that excellence is irresistible is perhaps going a little too far. Nonetheless, it has been proven that making the good great is magnetic. Excellence attracts people, opportunities and means. This answers the most pressing questions of professional everyday life (“How can I get through to interested parties, customers, donors…?”). In that you are who you are and that is the best you can be. And therefore attractive… The deeper lying reason for this is the subject of reason 5.

5. Bringing sense

Excellence does not only provide an answer to the question ‘how?’ but also ‘what for?’ Greatness is not just a style rather also a question of sense. Striving to be better means having the drive to go the extra mile. The desire for greatness is reason enough to get up in the morning even if the day before you is filled with unpleasant but necessary tasks. Making the good great is beautiful. And beauty makes our (working) lives valuable and full of purpose. Our interested parties, customers and donors also notice this. People do not only have interests which must be met. Not only problems which must be solved. Not only needs which must be satisfied. People, first and foremost, have a soul which wants to be nurtured.


PIRON Global Development – #GutesGroßartigMache