The Smith Report - Operational Playbooks

The Cost of Mediocrity

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The Cost of Mediocrity

Seth Godin in his new book – The Icarus Deception writes that in the context of sinking or swimming we are indoctrinated into believing we actually sink when we fail. Do we? he asks. “In fact, in the connection economy, it’s the person who doesn’t enter the arena who is punished.  In the connection economy, the fearful are disconnected. They are the ones who are punished, not by sinking but by being isolated.”

The cost of this fear I believe is enormous. Every time an employee turns up for work to get by, to make do, to get through the day she is costing the company a huge sum of money. The opportunity cost of mediocrity is huge. Instead of stepping up to do the work that’s needed, the minimum is deployed. Huge cost.

Those days are never returned. They are lost forever. Potential is unfulfilled.

Examples are happening every day in every business:

 CEOs – working in their comfort zone churning out code, building machines BUT not working on the business defining a better strategy or finding and nurturing great talent.

 Sales professionals – treating each prospect as another transaction instead of an opportunity to improve someone’s life.

Marketing professionals – churning out the same bland corporate speak instead of building a narrative that connects. A human narrative that tells a story in plain English.

 Customer Support Managers – They know they could track more insightful, meaningful metrics, or work far closer to sales teams but  answering the phones is what they get paid to do. Isn’t it?

Don’t let mediocrity kill your business. Don’t underestimate the cost of not doing the right work. Step up to lead, don’t wait to be asked. It is not safer to fly low. In this connected economy, success comes to those who strive to be remarkable.

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About the Author

Ian founded The Portfolio Partnership (TPP) in 2010. TPP is an operational consultancy focused on scaling private businesses safely. He believes his resume of building 4 previous businesses from publishing, investment banking to software in Europe and the States gives him a unique set of skills and a sense of humor. He remains a competitive masters track & field athlete and in 2012 was ranked #2 indoors in the world for his age at 400m.

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