If you suffer from performance issues at work, get serious about driving “Excellence” into your team.

Too many people come to work with the goal of simply getting through the day. Far too few people come to work striving for excellence, most come seeking only survival. What if everyone came to work every day with the goal of making things better?

Try this, have each team-member find a problem to solve, every day for 30 days. At the end of the month have a problem-solving party with recognition and awards for the biggest and best problems solved. The leader tells the team, “Everyone here makes this place a bit better every day for a month and let’s see where we get.”

Make it a fun team building event. Try breaking up into small groups and keep score. The team that solves the most problems wins. The team that solves the biggest problem wins. In the end, everyone wins!!!

It won’t be easy at first because people don’t feel it is their job to solve problems. They believe problem-solving is the job of their leader and is not their responsibility. WRONG! That is exactly why your team is not performing well. Leadership and excellence need to become the team’s responsibility in order for performance to improve.

Finding problems to solve is a great place to start!

This exercise seeks to build the habit of coming to work looking for ways to make things better.

To get started, provide your team with a list of things they can do to solve problems:

1. Ask why things are being done a certain way, suggest how they can be done differently

2. Recognize non-productive things you do daily and remove them

3. Treat a customer better than they expect

4. Make a suggestion to a customer that improves his life

5. Offer to help co-workers before they ask

6. Start a committee that drives an important initiative

7. Coach a team member on how to do things better

8. Add energy when the team hits a lull

9. Leave something in the office better than when you found it

10. Make someone laugh when they are having a tough time

11. Highlight good work from your peers

12. Find other great employees to join the team

13. Save the company money by cutting costs

14. Get smarter at your job through training or books

15. Figure out what went wrong

Come up with a way to keep track. Try giving each person a blank calendar where they write down the problem they solved that day. At the end of the month the week every one hands in their calendars. If you have ten people on your team and twenty working days that month, you solved 200 problems that may not otherwise have solved.

Most importantly, you changed the responsibility mindset of the team, and hopefully built a lasting habit of bottom-up excellence.