Everyone talks about how bad mediocrity is. About how we shouldn’t tolerate it. About how it is a cancer to your organization, let alone your life.
I agree with them all. I’ve even written about it before.
Although I’m with you, I don’t care any more. Is it a cancer? Can it destroy your company? Can it wreak havoc on production? Yes.
But still, I don’t care.
Because mediocrity is a symptom, not a cause. It is a tell-tale sign that something else is wrong.
In a High-Fidelity company mediocrity doesn’t exist. And that is why I don’t care. Because if your company is set up correctly, it won’t be the problem that it is today.
WHY MEDIOCRITY DOES NOT LIVE IN HIGH-FIDELITY COMPANIES
There are some biological environments in which cancer cannot live. And, if you do it right, mediocrity can’t live in yours. There are two characteristics of why…
1) Accountability to everyone, not one person. A team member can get away with fooling one person. It’s easy. And we see it all the time. One person is the darling of the team (at least according to the manager) and the rest of the team can see right through the facade. But when you are accountable to everyone around you, it is very difficult to get away with anything questionable.
2) Having a WHY. If you know why you are working and it is your passion or at least something you are interested in, then mediocrity won’t exist. If you are stuck in a job you can only tolerate, however, and governed by a boss and by rules that only seem to multiply, it is easy to let the mediocrity creep in.
WE CAN DO BETTER
But we must stop the current celebration of mediocrity. You have seen awards given to people for just doing their job. When that happens I think, “Ya, way to do your job and get paid for it. Well done!” (laced with sarcasm)
There are times when I have received an official recognition for not only just doing my job, but for (what I considered) playing. I learn so much by what I do that a certificate of achievement would pale in comparison to the satisfaction I received from the experience.
So, Step 1: Stop celebrating mediocrity.
Step 2: Create an environment where mediocrity can’t live.
Then, mediocrity won’t even matter.