The End of Company Sanctioned Mediocrity

When organizations first begin there is so much excitement and palpable energy that every action is taken with the goal of excellence. The environment within the organization is agile, adaptive, and passion driven. This atmosphere can last for months of even years, if you are lucky. Eventually it will befall the same fate as every other company. One day you will look up and notice that your company is not longer acting on passion, but on process and status quo.

Process, inherently is not a bad thing, however, too many processes can allow mediocrity to take root in your organization. People begin cc-ing everyone on emails for CYA, they begin laying blame instead of taking ownership, and while not written or stated out loud, company sanctioned mediocrity becomes SOP.

“Not my company!” you might be saying. Well, you’re wrong. The change can be seen on the majority of your employees. On a team member’s first day they are eager and want to take on the entire world. Slowly they start slipping into minimally acceptable results and because it fits within the processes of the organization the company essentially sections their fall into mediocrity.

Don’t feel bad, it happens to every organization.

There is hope! Through a conscious effort people in leadership roles within your organization can take the initiative and steer your organization away from mediocrity and towards extraordinary.

How can we do that?

Heres how:

  1. Develop the Organizational Aspiration. (NOT the mission statement). work with leadership teams to begin asking and answering questions like:
    1. Where is our company headed?
    2. What are our huge goals?
    3. How do we want the employees to feel on Monday? on Wednesday? on Friday?
    4. Why should our clients care about what we do?
    5. Why should our team members care about our organization?
    6. What are some things we can implement to discourage mediocrity?
  2. Share the goals with the entire team! Bring every employee into the fold. Let them see what your organizational aspirations are. Everyone likes to be in on the big picture. When you clearly and concisely present the vision for your organization it will inspire your team to pursue excellence in the pursuit of that goal.
  3. Be honest and decisive! Often, managers will hide behind processes and policies to cover their own tails. PIP’s (performance improvement plans) are one of the most prevalent ways that peoples shuck their responsibilities and waste huge amounts of time. It is the responsibility of people in leadership roles to be honest when something isn’t working and to be decisive with how to get the organization back on track. While it is not always easy, honesty is essential to creating the right organization and moving away from mediocrity.
  4. Continually nurture your team’s involvement. Organizational aspirations are not something you set and forget. That why policies and mediocrity are so prevalent, you can set them and walk away. Extraordinary company cultures, however, need constant attention and adjustment. There is no autopilot for phenomenal, so be prepared to continually engage, inspire, and steer your team.

Its time for every manager to become a leader. Its time for ever organization to discard their mission statement and develop their aspiration. Its time to end company sanctioned mediocrity and set the expectation of extraordinary in every action.


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