“Commit to Excellence” the poster reads. It was placed in the break room by a well meaning individual. The intention was to remind everyone to strive for the extraordinary. And why should’t every organization want their employees to be above average?

The real problem with platitudes like this is that they laden with condescension. If you have truly excellent employees, posters like this will not motivate them any more. They are more likely to think “I’m all ready committed to being great, how do they not notice it?” To them this sort of ‘drive by’ motivation is insulting.


Maybe these posters are meant to inspire mediocre employees to work harder? Do you think that would work?

No complacent employee has ever been motivated to work harder because they read a poster or received an email letting them know that the company was committed to being great.

So why do companies put for the effort to post these messages? Because it feels like action and it seems like a positive initiative. The truth of the matter is that commitment takes much more involvement than a poster or a single internal announcement.

Don’t lie to yourself. Internal strategies like these are not going to transition any company into a more inspired, motivated team. To truly become excellent it takes real commitment at all levels of an organization. It will take more involvement than a single meeting, or a new employee recognition event. If we want our organization to truly be commeted to excellence then we need to prove to our team members that mediocrity is not an option. Make a commitment to condemn anyone that only puts in halfhearted efforts and reward those that are already showing the qualities that are desirable.

You said you wanted to commit to excellence, then that means really committing!

Will you have to let some of you team go? Yes. Will it be easy? No. Will your company reap the benefits immediately? Certainly not.

Will a commitment now be worth it in the long run? Absolutely.

You have the ability and the responsibility to expect more from your team. Demand above average results and extraordinary attitudes.

Don’t just hang a poster of what you want your team to become, actually take action to build the culture and organization you want.

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