Clarity and Belonging—More Ways to Create Pockets of Excellence

by Shawn Murphy
In yesterday’s Advisor, Shawn Murphy, the CEO and founder of Switch & Shift, an organization dedicated to the advancement of human-centered organizational practices and leadership, described “pockets of excellence” within organizations and how to foster them. Today Murphy discusses three more ways to create—and grow—pockets of excellence.

More Key Inputs to Create an Environment of Excellence
Pull Back the Covers
For a pocket of excellence to become contagious, a leader needs to share the success of the team with the next levels of leadership. Clear, definitive examples of what’s being done to achieve results need to be documented and communicated upward and with peers.
Bolster Belonging
While personalizing the work helps deepen the bond between a leader and an employee, it’s also critical to do the same for the team. Professor Roy Baumeister’s research on belonging concludes that human beings are motivated by the need to build and nurture personal relationships. Leaders need to intentionally shape the work context to help team members find a place for themselves within the team.
Create Clarity
Finally, for excellence to be possible, employees need clarity on personal and team goals. Additionally, work priority needs to be understood. Goals and priorities are essential ingredients for people to make meaningful progress in their work. Without a sense of progress, employees become frustrated, even disillusioned with their work and their boss.
To avoid frustrations, intentionally review goals and priorities monthly with employees. In evaluating the above inputs to create a pocket of excellence, they are one-part personal and one-part savvy business acumen. Mixing the two creates a powerful influence positively shaping the work environment. This influence helps leaders create the conditions for a pocket of excellence to emerge.