Mediocrity in business is like having termites in your home. Once you have them, they’re very hard to get rid of. That’s why we can’t tolerate even the first sign of it, whether we’re talking about a termite infestation or mediocrity – because it’s insidious. Most termite problems aren’t dealt with until significant damage is already done because the early signs can be hard to detect. So, we must be vigilant. The moment you see wood dust on the floor, it’s time to get your entire house checked out. Mediocrity can be even more difficult to detect than a termite infestation, especially in it’s early stages. Here are some tips for catching mediocrity in your organization:
- Look for tolerance of the “ish” factor. We breed mediocrity when departments, teams, or individuals are satisfied with getting just close to the goal. Close is not enough.
- Mediocrity also tends to sneak into organizations where clear and documented standards are not set out for employees. In the absence of defined expectations, no repercussions for poor performance can exist. In an environment like that, most will settle for the path of least resistance – also known as mediocrity!
- Organizations with a lack of vision and long-term goals are hotbeds for mediocrity. When people don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing, motivation suffers.
OK, so now you know how to seek it out, but how to get rid of mediocrity in your organization? Here are a few suggestions:
Empower people in your organization to set examples of excellence. Elevate the individuals who are doing a stellar job. They deserve to be recognized and will pave the way for others to follow.
Don’t be a doormat. Be consistent and vigilant about the level of quality you expect from the members of your organization. It is possible to be a fair and well-liked leader while remaining uncompromising when it comes to your standards. The truly valuable members of your organization will appreciate knowing where they stand at all times.
Establish a vision early and review it often. The goals of your company may change with time, but you must always have a core focus statement in place to guide your organization. From small things like good spreadsheet practice and business process to the large ‘visions’ for the company, it all needs to be noted down and reviewed periodically. Preferably every few months.
Tolerance of sub-par performance, missed deadlines, and uninspired deliverables are sneakily destroying businesses everywhere. Don’t let this happen to your organization. Now go call the exterminator!