The idea that excellence translates into more money is a complex one. In the corporate environment, excellence isn’t always rewarded.

Lyapa Nakazwe-Masiya, a C-suite and executive board placements consultant in Africa for international leadership advisory firm Egon Zehnder, believes there are many factors in the workplace that can result in excellence being overlooked and employees not being financial rewarded for their efforts.

READ MORE: Rising above messy competition in the workplace

However, in a world where more and more people are available to fill fewer positions, if you aren’t excellent, then you risk being left behind.

“Today you can’t survive by being mediocre. The people who are pushing the boundaries are the ones going above and beyond the call of duty. They’re the ones achieving amazing things,” she says.

Nakazwe-Masiya explains what individuals need to be working towards: “We don’t look for your average employee; we’re seeking people with a different perspective who’ll challenge us, take accountability and responsibility, take whatever idea we give them and run with it.”

One area in which the pursuit of excellence can indeed garner financial rewards is the client-facing, entrepreneurial one.

“Being excellent leads to more opportunities because you’re able to open more doors. Whether it’s by word-of-mouth referrals or because people feel more comfortable and trusting, this will ultimately lead to more business and greater financial gains,” says Citadel Financial Advisor Anelisa Mti. Liber agrees, adding that excellence gives more kudos to your personal brand.

READ MORE: Why ‘sisterhood’ doesn’t exist in the workplace

Mti also believes it’s easier to be excellent if you’re passionate about what you do.

“If you have passion for your job, then makes you happy. Excellence automatically stems from that – and so will money. People tend to want the quickest route to financial gains and aspire to lavish lifestyles without self-understanding,” she says.

Instead, they should become aware of how they can achieve their career goals and what qualities they need to develop to do so.