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What are you doing now that’s extraordinary?
July 15, 2013 | By Neil Ducoff | 1 Comment
Extraordinary always stands out in a sea of ordinary. Where ordinary requires minimal commitment, achieving extraordinary demands 100% dedication to doing whatever it takes to get to the top. Many people, and companies, are OK with being ordinary and performing just good enough to get by. Ordinary doesn’t take that much effort and it’s certainly less stressful than the alternative; it’s like fast food served in a culture of minimal expectation. Conversely, extraordinary is like a fine-dining experience served in a culture of the most demanding expectations.
In business, achieving extraordinary is one thing – but maintaining it is where the real work of leadership, accountability, systems, culture building, and refinement are put to the test. It’s comparable to an Olympic athlete who trains for years to achieve peak performance for that one moment on the world stage. Once training stops, peak performance diminishes. Being the best and staying the best demands discipline, commitment, and tenacity.
Let’s use my Big Eight Drivers to determine what you’re doing now that’s extraordinary:
- Culture Driver: Is your company culture pristine or does it have traces of contamination? The ultimate job of the no-compromise leader is to create, maintain, and protect the company culture because it is impossible to achieve extraordinary outcomes when toxic waste and contamination are present. A leader that ignores or avoids culture issues is committing the ultimate compromise.
- Sense of Urgency Driver: Is your company’s culture fast or slow? Is your sense of urgency dial cranked up to ten and your team’s dial comatose at two? Urgency is energy; it gets things done. It means that everyone is taking responsibility for achieving the right outcomes. You can’t achieve extraordinary without breaking a sweat.
- Critical Numbers Driver: Your critical numbers tell if what you’re doing is truly extraordinary, or just plain ordinary. Critical numbers like productivity rate, client retention rate, gross profit margin, pre-book ratio, and others tell you the truth about how you lead and your company’s performance. You’re only extraordinary when your critical numbers say you are.
- Information Flow Driver: Whenever someone says, “I didn’t know,” your information flow systems are broken. Daily huddles, scoreboards, project management tools, and any other system that keeps everyone on the same page act as an asset to your company and keeps information flowing. You can’t achieve extraordinary without everyone using the same playbook.
- Teamwork Driver: Yes, teamwork is a driver because teams can do what individuals cannot. Teams are about achieving common goals, going the distance, and winning. A company cannot achieve extraordinary without harnessing the power of teamwork.
- Innovation Driver: Change is relentless and growth always encounters obstacles. Adapting to change and overcoming the inevitable obstacles means innovating new tactics, systems, strategies, products, services, and anything else that requires improvement or an entire new approach. You can’t achieve extraordinary doing the same thing over and over again.
- Systems Driver: Systems bring structure to how work is done. If work is poorly designed, it cannot be executed well. If you don’t like the results you’re getting, change, tweak, reinvent, or build an entirely new system. Becoming extraordinary without finely tuned systems is impossible.
- Accountability Driver: Accountability is the eighth driver because it locks in the discipline and “get it done” thinking/behavior necessary to achieve the right outcomes. Accountability is not a word to be feared. Rather, it is a word to be honored and respected at all cost. You’re either accountable or you’re not. Your culture is either accountable or it consistently misfires and falls short. Achieving extraordinary cannot occur without accountability.
Now that I defined the Big Eight Drivers, plot where your company falls in each driver on the wheel. Next, connect the dots to see what your wheel looks like. Any driver that is not in the “No-Compromise Zone” is preventing your company from achieving extraordinary.
From Neil’s book No-Compromise Leadership
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