She Said It Was “OK” to Accept Mediocrity
My sister-in-law is an award-winning high school cross country and track and field coach. She was a decorated sprinter who ran Division I track in college. As a coach, she pushes her athletes to achieve their fullest potential. Recently she received a note from a parent questioning the intensity of the workouts, the pressure to achieve success, and then stated that it was “ok” to accept mediocrity. Recognizing this as a teaching moment, my sister-in-law decided to bring up the issue with the team. She discussed the pressure she received as an athlete and a student from her coaches and teachers. She emphasized that pressure molded her into the person she has become. She stated she wouldn’t be doing her job if she wasn’t pushing the team to achieve their fullest potential. She explained that pressure is a big part of life and can be a great motivator for each of them.
After she told me about the text, I couldn’t stop thinking about the parent’s message. It caused me to reflect on the work we do with our clients; the entrepreneurs who faced an immense amount of pressure to build their businesses. Every entrepreneur has a story of working through the sometimes-unthinkable pressures to succeed. Every high performing senior leader we work with has a story of pushing past their “limits” to achieve success. Every thriving organization has worked through countless challenges and rigors to be able to achieve greatness.
In business and in life the pressure to succeed never stops. It may become easier to navigate through wisdom gained through various experiences and age, but it never stops. Industries go through cycles of change. The best transform and adapt. Senior leaders are faced with difficult decisions. The best make them and move confidently forward. The day pressure stops is the day we begin to accept mediocrity.
The most effective way to ensure that your organization doesn’t succumb to mediocrity is through creating a plan, following through with implementation, and recognizing when the plan needs to shift in order to address changes in the marketplace.
And so, I challenge you think about whether you are pushing your company to achieve its strategic plan. Are you pushing your team to achieve its potential? Are you developing your next generation leaders to ensure a smooth succession of the business? Have you established business objectives to measure your success? How are you positioning your business to go above and beyond to get to the next level?
Mediocrity is the place a business goes to die. Mediocrity is what underperforming leaders accept from themselves and their team. Mediocrity is never the answer. Push yourself and your team to achieve its potential because mediocrity is never “ok.”
Aaron Phillips, Owner of Decision Associates