Too often, as I work with organizations, teams, and individual, I find people “settling.” By that, I mean, there seems to be some sort of fatalistic attitude or closed mindset that keeps them from doing their very best and seeking the very best from everyone around them.
We see it manifested in all sorts of ways:
Sales people not taking the time to prepare or research, because they are too busy.
Focusing more on what we do, than our customers’ business challenges because it’s too tough to understand what they care about.
Pitching, rather than engaging in deep conversations because that’s too tough.
Chasing bad quality deals, knowing our probability of closing them is lower than if we focused on our ICP.
Not using the sales process or developing a strong deal strategy because it requires too much work/thought.
Not hiring the best, but settling on what we get just to fill an open position.
Not coaching and developing your people because it takes too much time and is often frustrating.
Not expecting the best of your people.
Not addressing performance issues.
Sloppiness around meeting commitments–even things like being on time.
Constantly seeking short cuts or what’s easy (as opposed to simplifying).
Always finding excuses or assigning blame.
….and the list can go on.
Then, every once in a while, I run across an individual, team, or an organization that’s different.
They do the hard work.
They don’t take short cuts,
They are constantly learning and trying to improve.
They accept responsibility.
These people/organizations are, by no means, perfect. Like all of us, they have successes and failures. They tend to have more successes than failures, primarily because they learn from each experience and constantly seek to improve. They tend to be top performers and achieve top performance more often than others.
Above all, the insist on the highest standards. Personal, team, and organizational. They have their own internal compasses that drive them to achieve, to be the best, to not compromise/settle in performance. They have high expectations of themselves and everyone around them.
Interestingly, these high expectations tend to be contagious–they raise the standards of everyone around them.
As we think about how we improve our own performance and that of our organizations, perhaps the first step is simple, it’s all about constantly seeking and insisting on the highest possible standards in everything we do. Seems like everything else sorts itself out.
Afterword: While I write this, I’m listening to the news, dismayed by the terrible examples set by leaders in both our political parties, it seems few have high standards of personal performance. It’s a terrible example for everyone in the country and for those in other countries watching how our leaders perform.