Creating a Culture of Excellence (Part 1)

Last updated: Jan 17, 2023

My family and friends know me to be an avid student of military history. Over the years, I’ve read countless works on the world’s major battles—from periods of antiquity through the modern era. Mind you, my interest in the subject isn’t to romanticize war. Rather, it’s spurred by a desire to better understand the prevailing conditions leading to a conflict and the geopolitical ramifications of its aftermath. A collateral benefit of my reading is I’ve learned the stories of exceptional figures that emerged from that realm.    


Lead with Integrity and Capability

One such person is the late U.S. Army Major Richard Winters, a World War II veteran and decorated D-Day hero. I have great admiration for Winters’ honorable service to our country and have noted several of his guidelines on leadership. For example, Winters emphasized the importance of character and competence—traits that convey you lead with integrity and capability. And when he spoke of leading with courage, it meant to do the right thing, even when difficult, and to admit to mistakes when culpable. 


Possess a Guiding Set of Principles

During my 25 years of leadership in the business sector, the maxims highlighted by Winters and other great teachers have served me well. To pen a column titled Essentials of Modern Leadership there is an embedded implication: the ideas communicated here are meant as an orientation to successful leadership. A successful leader must possess a guiding set of principles. Your essential values, consistently applied, will create a culture of excellence. Excellence, by anyone’s standards, is equal to success.


Inspire Your Team by Setting the Example

Creating a culture of excellence should be a priority for leaders in any work sector or sphere of life. This begins with leadership that inspires buy-in from your people. As a leader, you set the example. For example, you frequently talk about the importance of what you and your team do. You encourage and allow your people’s talents to flourish. You exude confidence in your authority in a steady and benevolent manner. You lead in such a way that people willingly follow you.  


A manager going over the company culture and hoping to create a culture of excellence.

Create a Culture of Excellence with USF Office of Corporate Training and Professional Education

Of course, creating a culture of excellence doesn’t occur overnight. Principles of successful leadership, applied over the long-term, can help your organization not only in meeting its key objectives, but to do so with excellence. Executive management author Victor Lipman beautifully writes, “Excellence is an idea, a mindset, a standard, a way of being. It’s as unmistakable as a sunrise: it commands your attention and people know when they see it.” This is an image of excellence leaders should strive for!


Mark Koulianos is the Executive Director of the USF Office of Corporate Training and Professional Education, which is dedicated to building a world-class workforce in Tampa Bay. Go further, faster! To learn more about USF's corporate training programs and how they can help you cultivate a culture of excellence, visit our website below.

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