Billions of dollars are wasted each year by companies who compromise on standards. Many leaders endanger themselves and their organizations by permitting a “good-enough culture.” Fortunately, this danger of mediocrity has a remedy.
“Only the mediocre are always at their best.” ~ Jean Giraudoux, French essayist
The good-enough culture plagues an organization in every aspect of its operation, all the way down to the most basic:
If not corrected, the issues feed on themselves.
Growing the Good-Enough Culture
The good-enough culture flows from the top down. It takes root when leaders believe that a good-enough approach is acceptable.
Typically, leaders who have the impression that life is rewarding enough don’t see the need to make things better for everyone else. Leaders with a self-focused mindset have one or more of the following issues:
Leaders who don’t understand the power of excellence don’t care enough about pursuing it. This lack of caring is what author Subir Chowdhury claims is the main cause of a good-enough culture, in his book, The Difference: When Good Enough Isn’t Enough (Penguin Random House, 2017).
When leaders don’t care enough about being the best they can be, why would staff? Leaders often cause slow failure simply by allowing mediocrity to set in. Complacent and falsely secure, organizations are unprepared to respond effectively when the bleeding begins and gradual decline ensues.
Symptoms of “Good-Enough”
Organizations and leaders who don’t care much about excellence will signal this throughout the system:
When leaders reveal these symptoms, it is a general indication that they don’t really care enough about excellence to truly implement it, and probably don’t understand how to.
Overcoming the Good-Enough Culture
Author Chowdhury suggests four basic principles leaders can apply to overcome the good-enough syndrome.
When leaders care, excellence becomes contagious. People get energized to find ways to combat mediocrity. Leaders bring out the best in people and in themselves when they look beyond the good-enough mindset.
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