A few years ago, I had a conversation with Marshall Goldsmith, who coaches most of the Fortune 500 CEO’s.  You may know him from his book “What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There” where he discusses habits that were helpful getting you where you are now, but won’t get you to where you want to be ion the future. Likewise, the same is true for your team.  Your current team may not be the team that will move your business or career to where you want to be in the future.

One trap I see leaders getting stuck in is….

tolerating mediocrity

It can sound like this….

  • Bob has never met a deadline, so I give him a fake deadline of two weeks earlier.
  • Sally can be rude and arrogant with people, but she’s our top producer.
  • Jim’s been with me for 15 years.  I know his family. I can’t fire him.

When you have a vision for rapid growth, there is little room for mediocrity.

Here are four steps to banning mediocrity

  1. Set Clear Expectations – Just last week I was speaking to an owner about one of his employees. He was telling me what exactly he expected from his employee. I asked “Is he clear on your expectations?” and the answer was probably not.  You must clearly communicate your expectations.
  2. Set Measurable Goals – If your expectation is that every incoming phone call is answered live within two rings. Perfection is not possible. Set a goal. The goal may be 90% of calls answered in two rings.
  3. Provide Timely Feedback –Ask each team member how they best receive feedback. I have one client who wants direct feedback. “He says ‘Give it to me straight. I’m a big boy. I love feedback.’”  Another client wants a little buffer around her feedback – sandwiched with positive feedback.
  4. Take Action – Decide if you need to take action. If the steps above are not working, it may be time to gracefully exit the employee.

This is what it means to be thoughtfully ruthless with your resources.