Want to realize true potential? Don't default to the lowest common denominator.
Mediocrity is unacceptable, yet more often than not it is accepted. Employees accept it and management accepts it.
We can identify the root of the problem readily: We've set the bar, not at the best performers, but at the worst -- the lowest common denominator. Setting the bar at the lowest common denominator prevents the realization of true potential.
Here is how to avoid the trap of the lowest common denominator:
- Explore. Rather than scale the first peak you stumble upon, survey the landscape and identify the highest peak.
- Climb. Once you have identified the highest peak, get started climbing it. Yes, the going might be tough, but the view from the top will make all the hard work worthwhile.
- Re-define progress. There is a strong bias for accumulating small wins and calling it progress. While setting milestones and acknowledging advancements are necessary steps, don't lose sight of the ultimate goal. Too often, we call a baby step progress. Re-define progress so that your forward motion is greater than a baby step and puts you noticeably closer to where you really want to be.
- Talk is cheap. Don't talk about exploring, don't talk about climbing, don't talk about re-defining progress -- instead, just ACT. If you want to move the bar from worst to best and escape the trap of the lowest common denominator you need to get beyond the rhetoric and actually do something.
Once you've committed yourself to being the best, you'll probably start to inspire others. Eventually, the attitude of aiming for the stars will catch on, in your organization and in its partners. Then, it will be a whole new supply chain.