Excellence in Execution. The A-Game that Separates the Best from the Rest

16th March 2020Business Coaching

Excellence in execution - 4 Aces Approach, Attitude, Application, Attention to Detail

What is Excellence in Execution?

“The way you do anything is the way you do everything”

Suzanne Evans

Excellence in execution comes when we decide to make every effort our best effort.

When we do this, it positively impacts every part of our lives.

In the professional environment, mindset, attitude, and approach often trump talent, knowledge, and experience.

Why don’t all businesses achieve excellence?

Have you ever wondered:

  • How many brilliant ideas come to nothing?
  • Why that “must-do project” always seems to remain on the back burner?
  • How often the voice of experience goes unheeded?

Sometimes it’s not the strategy that’s at fault. Instead, there’s a failure to execute.

You might have a game plan, but what if the players don’t show up, or don’t perform on the day?

Good intentions will mean nothing. Initial efforts will be wasted. Your team won’t win.

What separates the best from the also-rans?

Very often it’s not talent or opportunity.

It’s attention to detail in every single action and a commitment to hitting deadlines and meeting objectives.

This holds true whether you are just starting your career or a superstar entrepreneur like Richard Branson.

That’s why it always pays to bring your A-Game every hour of every day.

How to excel at everything you do

Regardless of the level of your experience and expertise you always have a winning hand to play. It contains these four Aces:

Approach, attitude, application, and attention to detail


What is approach? It’s about preparation and about thinking about the best way to do something.

Often, people like to demonstrate action. Businesses also like to generate a sense of urgency in the expectation that there will be an instant detectable change in pace or direction.

Whilst this makes sense in truly urgent situations, it’s not usually the best way to achieve lasting results.

Before rushing into action, it’s always best to weigh up the options, develop a plan and then implement using a balance of efficiency and effectiveness.

When thinking about approach, this quote about problem-solving, sometimes attributed to Einstein, readily comes to mind:

“If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions”

Albert Einstein


Having decided on the best approach to an issue, you need to combine this with the right attitude.

Simply put, mindset matters. Be positive, proactive and optimistic. After all, a “can do attitude” boosts your own motivation and is of course highly visible to others.

When your plan does not go right first-time round, or when you run into a problem, your attitude will determine whether you ultimately succeed. Sometimes, it will even be the differentiator between whether friends or colleagues are prepared to pitch in to help or not.

In his book “Attitude is Everything” Jeff Keller writes:

“When you change your attitude, you achieve extraordinary results”

Jeff Keller

Finally, do bear in mind that attitudes are contagious. If yours is positive, you are likely to met with positivity by those around you


With the right approach and a positive attitude, you are on the path to excellence. Now you need to execute. This requires application of your plan. Also for you to apply yourself to the tasks in hand.

The doing is always harder than the thinking or the planning.


Because we almost always underestimate both the time required to complete an activity and also the difficulty of doing so.

To get a project “over the line” requires a steely determination. Sometimes, also the need to go the extra mile to ensure targets are met. American inventor Thomas Edison famously said:

“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. Great accomplishments depend not so much on ingenuity as on hard work. “

Thomas Edison

Attention to detail

Finally, what makes the difference between good and excellent is attention to detail. This invaluable skill enables you to achieve thoroughness and accuracy when accomplishing any task.

It also ensures that the finishes touches are applied to your product as a hallmark of quality. Or, your service teams go above and beyond to deliver a truly outstanding customer experience.

Attention to detail is the ultimate differentiator in today’s competitive landscape.


Because it is not innate to most of us. Ordinarily, we look for short-cuts as we rush to get the job done.

“Good enough” is generally acceptable. Attention to detail detects the flaws and raises the bar beyond good to excellent.

In Summary

The 4 “A’s” of approach, attitude, application and attention are like holding 4 aces in your hand. Played together they allow you to excel at everything you do.

Admittedly, it’s not easy to be on the ball one hundred percent of the time.

No person or no business is perfect but sustained effort repeated day in, day out ultimately leads to excellence in execution.

Take a look at the resources section for more business coaching . Or get in touch for support and consultancy.

* An abridged form of this post first appeared on LinkedIn on 24 September 2019. This long-form post was rewritten on 16 March 2020