What’s your warpath m.o.?


When we talk about going on a warpath to banish mediocrity and replace it with excellence, you have to identify the mediocrity.

When you go on a warpath, you attack.

To attack something, you have to flush it out of hiding, exposing it as the enemy it is.

I’m thinking about this because of a few discussions I’ve had with different people lately on how you define excellence.

It seems to me, that one of the easiest ways to define the excellence you want, is to expose the mediocrity that keeps it from happening, and start by eliminating it, and replacing it with something superior. That way, you incrementally go from just okay to pretty darn good,
and then to better,
and then to better still,
to even better, and then,
to even BETTER. Step by next step, action by next action, to excellence.


Excellence is always a moving target
. Whatever it is today, it’ll be something else entirely tomorrow.

What do you think?

If you woke up to go to work today, and you were not incredibly excited about that, jumping at the chance to make a difference in some way, then you don’t have excellence waiting for you at work, you have mediocrity and complacency there.

Flush it out
. Attack it.

Figure out a different and better way to do what is just normal right now.

Where is all this coming from? Here; you should be at least 8 days into it by now.

Footnote: This impression of Kamehameha as a young man was painted by Big Island artist and historian Herb Kane, who used all available historical resources to determine what the "Warrior King" may have looked like.

He doesn’t look like someone who would’ve settled for good enough, does he.


  1. Rick Fuqua says

    As a top technology executive, I see the many positive benefits of continuous improvement practices as long as the improvements are deliberate, well designed, prioritized and properly implemented. The challenge arises as tremendous performance pressures to achieve increasing results often leads to mistakes, oversights and in some cases just plain old fashioned activity without reason. I have to remind my middle managers that success can never be attained at the expense of quality or focus.
    Change must be kept under control, but we cannot be afraid of change either.
    Because resources are limited, we must focus on those improvements that will yield the greatest impact. It’s also much harder than one would think to inspire improvements and creativity without creating some potential chaos. No loose cannons allowed in my world.
    My new warpath will be ”“
    A ”“ Attack
    T ”“ Team
    T ”“ Today
    A ”“ Achieve
    C ”“ Continuous Improvement
    K ”“ Knowledge
    I ”“ Information
    T ”“ Technology
    Rosa – Question – It is annual performance review time again (our year ends March 31) so I thought I would ask you if you could share some quick wisdom on the matter?

  2. says

    Love this Rick! I think that in sharing your ATTACK IT acronym with your team, and why you came up with it, you can set it up as a “decision filter” or the “great-change criteria” to keep that focus you want — the warpath is then focused as you so rightly speak of the need for, versus chaotic.
    There is a rhythm of unity (Lōkahi and Kākou!) so that you DO have a concerted warpath, and not random, bloody battlegrounds all over the place: I absolutely concur that no loose cannons should be allowed! Further, no one need go it alone when the team huddles are exciting and empowering.
    You also bring back to mind for me this notion of mobilizing your resources in a deliberately focused KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u campaign. I always will opt for action versus inaction, however it isn’t wise to be draining energies in actions that sap your strength instead of building on it. The reality of workplaces everywhere right now, is that post 9/11/01 most of the “powers that be” do expect their leaders and managers to stay lean and be overly cautious about adding more labor. I am hearing from so many that as business booms they are still expected to handle the crush with their existing resources. That requires a lot of focus and proactivity, and smart campaigning with the troops so everyone is on the same page is a brilliant battle strategy. Problem is usually that,
    a) it is so simple it is overlooked (why do we persist on making everything so hard or so complicated?), or
    b) too many assumptions are made, and the reality is that teams do NOT speak the same language of intention they think they do.
    As for my advice on annual performance reviews, let’s bring all of these discussions together in our strategy (including those concurrently in the MWA Jumpstart program). Stay tuned; I’ll add to this shortly. I actually already had something in drafts for this – it’s as if you read my mind” I love when this happens! We are managing with aloha and working our values together folks ” no accident here.
    For now, rather than keeping you waiting, take a look at this from the archives:
    5 Questions for your Performance Appraisals

  3. says

    On the KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u warpath: The Email Enemy

    This month, we have been talking about KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u, and going on the warpath against mediocrity, and I wonder, how brave have you been? How fearless a warrior are you? How willing are you to shake up the