Leadership exists to disrupt mediocrity.
Question: Why is mediocrity so prevalent? Answer: It requires no courage. The best leaders exhibit the strength of character to move past the ordinary, usual, and customary, in order to reside in the realm of the extraordinary. They recognize that status quo thinking dulls the mind and lulls leaders into a false sense of security. I’ve always said the status quo is mediocrity’s preferred weapon of choice. Great leaders must hack the mediocrity gap or face the consequences. Meritocracy or mediocrity—the choice is yours.
Take a moment and think about the talent and culture that exists in any organization you’ve worked for. It’s not that hard to immediately conjure up images of mediocrity in people, process, systems, culture, and leadership. How sad is that? In fact, I’d go so far as to suggest most people wouldn’t have trouble describing entire leadership teams, companies, and brands as mediocre. When excellence cedes its position to a lack thereof, even once-dominant companies will fall into decline.
In the opening paragraph of this chapter I mentioned mediocrity is so prevalent because it requires no courage. While a true statement to be sure, there’s another reason; it often goes unnoticed. Leaders tend to notice the poor performers and the excellent performers, but mediocre performers simply tend to fly under the radar screen.
Pick a team, a product category, an industry vertical, or virtually any grouping ...