EB106 - Personal Excellence © Question:   Excellence doesn't matter to the managers at my company. Instead, promotions depend upon office politics. It's very discouraging. What should I do?

Larry:  In other words, you get paid the same whether your work is average or excellent.  And the people being promoted haven't necessarily demonstrated personal excellence as much as personal politics, right?  This is a more common problem than you might think.  There is nothing more destructive to our sense of well being (at home or at work) than to believe that "excellence doesn't matter."  And, more often than not, this attitude indicates that someone in authority is acting selfishly or with tyranny, fulfilling his or her own personal agenda at the expense of managing the organization so that it keeps its promises.

It's not too difficult to identify the source.  You can probably think of someone you have worked with whose leadership skills were rooted in manipulation and deceit rather than sincerity and competence. The cases we have seen publicly prosecuted are more than just metaphors.  But no matter how smoothly their public image is crafted, or how loyal their staff; eventually, all unjust tyrants are exposed and “dethroned.”  It is impossible to keep this kind of secret hidden from constituents, shareholders, customers, suppliers, and eventually reporters or prosecutors. Someone will know, someone will care, and someone will take action.

In the meantime, you should make a personal calculation about whether you want to take the steps required to survive and overcome your current pressures until things at your company get better, or, find a place to work where excellence does matter.  That should be very easy to accomplish. Managers who are trying to keep their promises would love to have an employee with a strong work ethic and who is striving for excellence.  The important thing is that you don't allow other people's bad motives to steal your enthusiasm for life.