Three Common Excuses That Keep Us In A State Of Mediocrity

One thing that every person or organization has to be mindful of is getting complacent after they achieve a goal. After setting a goal and working really hard to improve it, I believe it is natural to stick with the same goal, stagnating and therefore falling behind in many ways. 

Here are three examples that I've heard too many times in my career and how we need to change the conversation.

  1. It will never be perfect. This is common in goals where the target should be 100%. Be it up time performance, on time delivery or customer retention; a perfect world the number would be 100%. While nobody and no business is perfect, there is always room for improvement. If your goal was 90% and you have been hovering around it for a while, it is time to increase it to 95%. If you are at 99.9%, try and get five 9's (99.999%). Response - "No, it might not ever be perfect, but how fun would it be if it were? Let's figure out how to blow the doors off our old number."
  2. It is way better than it was. "You think it is bad now, you should have seen it before, the numbers were way worse." "We worked really hard to get it to the point it is." All of that is true and something to be proud of, but it shouldn't be something that you are content with. Response - "It is great that it is better than it was, but there is still room to do even better. How do we make it even better?"
  3. The biggest problem is [person or group] doesn't do [whatever they would ideally do]. Sometimes the truth can be deceiving for people. While it could be a fact that the biggest pain point in not achieving a goal is because of some factor completely outside of your control and everyone agrees that if it was fixed the situation would be better. That is the easy way out. All we can worry about are the things that we can actually control. Response - "What can we do to help [person or group] improve in [thing broken]?" or "Assume that [thing broken] is never fixed, what are we going to improve in spite of that state?"

Lets face it, we always have way more control than we think we do. It is easier to find an excuse than doing the hard work to actually make an impact. Rise above mediocrity.

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