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When good isn’t good enough
January 16, 2012 | By Neil Ducoff | 4 Comments
You run a good company. You built a good brand identity. Your sales are good. You have a good team and a good culture. So if everything is so good, why are you frustrated? Why do you feel like your company’s engine isn’t firing on all cylinders? Congratulations! You and your company have finally arrived at the pivotal point where good is no longer good enough. Good got you to where you are. Good doesn’t have the horsepower to take your company to the next level. Good is status quo.
Good simply means that you’re executing a lot of things well. Good is certainly something to be proud of, but competitors will methodically nip and chip away at your good until it becomes average. The gap between good and average is small. The gap between average and irrelevant is even smaller, and the decline can be rapid.
Chances are that “good isn’t good enough” is where your company is right now. You feel it and you don’t like it. It’s time for change. But are you truly ready to lift your company to the next level? Are you prepared to change in order to initiate company-wide change?
Here are some no-compromise strategies to begin your journey from good to exceptional:
- It’s really about you: It’s your company. You’re its leader. You led it to good, and you stopped because good felt pretty darn good. I always like to direct attention to that little voice in your head. That little voice tells you all the incredibly great things you should be doing as the leader; but it’s up to you to listen and engage. Getting to the next level means challenging yourself to do the tough stuff, to hold yourself accountable, to be committed to go the distance. Change initiatives fail when the leader expects everyone else to change first. That’s compromise.
- What’s your “hang time”? Getting to the next level means building new systems and getting them across the finish line. You must confront the reality of your hang time. If your track record is lots of starts and just a few finishes, maintaining your good is your real challenge. Getting to the next level isn’t going to happen until your hang time extends across the finish line.
- Collective thinking and behavior: Ah, now we’re getting to the core of what it takes to get to the next level. Yes, change begins with you, but lifting the collective thinking and behavior of a company to achieve next-level performance is the work of the no-compromise leader. The official term for such transitions is “culture shift.” FACT: Most culture shifts crash and burn in four to six months, and old thinking and behaviors come rushing back with a vengence. If good isn’t good enough, prepare to lead your company through a process of dynamic change. Anything less is a compromise; good may be all you’ll get.
- It’s the power of the destination: The energy to get to the next level radiates from the destination. You can’t inspire extraordinary performance and change when the destination is “I don’t know.” If you can’t articulate in extreme detail what life at the next level will look like, you’re already off to a bad start. Leaders, teams and companies achieve the extraordinary when the destination is so clear that it lives in your mind’s eye.
- What page? If there is any gripe I hear from leaders and followers alike it’s that “we’re not on the same page.” It’s massively frustrating for everyone when people and teams are on the wrong page or, even worse, reading from different playbooks. Get enough people on the same page and you can be good. Getting to the next level demands a level of thoroughness and attention to detail that you haven’t experienced yet. It’s all about building solid and rapid information-flow systems so everyone knows today’s plays and the score in real time. Anything less is a compromise.
Make the decision to accept good or choose to go to the next level. Stop talking about it. Commit to doing what your competition won’t. Push through the boundaries of ordinary to extraordinary. Lead your company through the four- to six-month danger zone where culture shifts crash and burn. Blow your customers away with experiences that inspire them to share with the world. For the no-compromise leader, good just isn’t good enough – ever.
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Neil Ducoff, Founder & CEO of Strategies and author of No-Compromise Leadership
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Categories: Monday Morning Wake-Up