Watching opportunities pass you by

You watch a client check out who did not receive product recommendations and pre-book options. You watch an employee take a shortcut in a process that will create problems down the line. Your company just implemented major, and much-needed, customer-service standards, but some of your key employees are outright ignoring them. You’re afraid that if you hold them accountable they’ll leave. How many opportunities to get better and grow your company do you watch pass by every day? It’s most likely infinitely more than you think – and it’s costing you big time.

My job is to work with leaders and companies to make them better – to uncover and capture opportunities. I listen to leaders talk about taking their companies to that glorious next level. I can feel their desire and intent to make serious changes, but what’s often missing is the commitment and accountability to see change through. It’s no different than hearing someone say, “I’m going to start working out,” or, “I’m going on a diet to shed these unwanted pounds.” Fitness centers and diet programs make fortunes on people who sign up but in short order fail to show up.

It’s no different in business and it sounds like, “We tried that before but it didn’t work.” What didn’t work? If it was a good system, process or standard of performance, why didn’t it work? The real question is, who watched it fail and why did he or she allow it to happen? Of course it’s the leader who compromised. Of course it’s the leader who watched the most recent attempt to finally lift their companies to that next level crash and burn. There’s no blaming, justifying or defending – just ownership of watching opportunities pass you by.

Here are some no-compromise strategies to go from watching to capturing opportunities:

  • Stop talking “no compromise” and go no compromise: No compromise means if it needs to be done, get it done, to hold yourself and your team accountable. Educate your team on what “no compromise” means and how it can raise the entire company to a level of success that is beyond their wildest dreams.
  • Clearly define what going no compromise will look and feel like: Together with your team, build a “We will win” code of conduct. Revisit and reaffirm commitment to it at every daily huddle. Don’t just make it a big deal for the short term; embed no-compromise thinking and behavior up to and through achieving your next level of success. Seeing a no-compromise culture emerge and solidify in a company is truly a beautiful thing.
  • Work through your fears that change will rock the boat: Guess what, change always rocks the boat. There’s a darn good chance that some of your long-time employees will balk at being held accountable to new systems, processes and standards. They got comfortable and most likely feel “entitled” to play differently than the rest of the team – and you watched it happen. You enabled it. You need to own it. The best tactic is to be respectful of your long-time employees. They stood by you through the tough times. Help them and encourage them through the changes that no compromise requires. However, you must stay your course and prevent a double standard from occurring. If one or more just can’t adapt, it may be time for them to move on. Allowing a non-player to stay is a compromise.
  • Hold yourself accountable at a level equal to the level of success you say you want: This is the toughest part of going no compromise. If you’re questioning your ability to be accountable, that means you don’t trust yourself to follow through. Learn to recognize that urge to compromise and push through it. It’s no different than resisting that slice of greasy pizza or bailing on your daily trip to the gym. Living no compromise means working at it every day.

Here’s the danger of compromise and watching opportunities pass you by – you get used to it. You don’t like it, but you learn to accept mediocrity. We pass this way but once. If the choice is going no compromise and winning big or compromise and mediocrity – I choose no compromise. What path do you choose?

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Please share your thoughts with me about today’s Monday Morning Wake-Up. Click above to comment.

Neil Ducoff, Founder & CEO of Strategies and author of No-Compromise Leadership

Pass this e-mail on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They’ll appreciate it.


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