*Business Strategies: An Enemy Called Average*
**By Michael Hammond**
booming and easy are not among them. In order to compete and grow in today’s changing markets
and ultra competitive environment, companies must foster a competitive spirit. It is imperative
to instill a commitment to excellence within their organization if they are going to be able to grow.
****The major roadblock to achieving this is what I call, “an enemy called average.” What does that
mean? People are fine with just getting by. Society has taught some that it’s ok to do the bare minimum.
These people think that they are entitled to certain things, so they don’t strive for more. As a
result, they become content with just getting by and doing just what’s expected and nothing more.
When you’re average, that detracts from you ever becoming great. You don’t have that competitive
spirit or drive, in other words.
****What’s fueling that is a sense of entitlement. People feel like the world owes them something, so
they take things for granted and expect things without having to put forth the work or effort to accomplish
tasks and overall success. Unfortunately, that starts at a young age in this society. Kids are
programmed to get what they want when they want it.
****It’s all about instant gratification.
The bigger problem is that you see this in all aspects
life. As kids grow and participate in sports, for
example, think they’re entitled to playing time, just
because they showed up for practice. It doesn’t matter
if they’ve acquired the requisite skills or put forth the
effort at practice, they feel that they deserve to play and
so do their parents.
****Further, just because Johnny spent an hour doing his homework, doesn’t mean that he understands
the lesson and deserves an A. The school systems are also falling into the trap of being average because
they don’t want to label exceptional effort or kids that need more help. They think they’re helping these
kids, but in reality, they are crippling these kids from working hard. Society wants to protect kids from
disappointment, but disappointment is part of life. What do I mean? Somebody gets the job, somebody
doesn’t. Somebody gets the promotion, somebody doesn’t. By creating this sterile environment, we do
kids a huge disservice.
****So, after a life of having things handed to them, of being protected from criticism, these kids enter
the workforce and just wait for something good to happen to them. They expect and feel like they
deserve a given position or title even if they haven’t proven themselves. They want a lifestyle without
putting out the effort to accomplish that goal. What this does is produce a whole generation in our
workforce today that’s ok with mediocrity.
So, they stop growing. They don’t strive for greatness. They are not looking to excel. They’re not
teachable, and they give up the first time things get tough because they have been insolated and they are
used to getting what they want without doing anything to deserve that reward. When someone critiques
them or out performs them, they don’t know how to respond.
What this leads to is these individuals not being adequately prepared for business or life in
general. They don’t follow through when
things get tough. They shirk accountability.
****In the end, they are not able to self
analyze their situation in order to realize
what needs to be done for them to move
forward. What we have is a generation of
whiners that haven’t learned how to win.
I recently read a book by Keith Cameron
Smith called The 10 Distinctions Between
Winners and Whiners. It was a good
read. Here’s the premise of the book:
****Distinction # 10: Winners take responsibility.
Whiners play the victim.
****Distinction #9: Winners can have what they want. Whiners
want what they cannot have.
****Distinction #8: Winners find a way. Whiners find an excuse.
****Distinction #7: Winners brighten a room by entering. Whiners
brighten a room by leaving.
****Distinction #6: Winners listen twice as much as they talk.
Whiners talk twice as much as they listen.
****Distinction #5: Winners enjoy life’s journey. Whiners put
their joy in the destinations.
****Distinction #4: Winners build friendships. Whiners destroy
****Distinction #3: Winners think big. Whiners think small.
****Distinction #2: Winners are focus-minded. Whiners are
****Distinction #1 Winners create positive meanings. Whiners
create negative meanings.
****As employers, you have to understand that this sense of entitlement
and this enemy called average has permeated the workforce.
If this is not addressed, it can stifle future growth.
****How do you address it? It’s important to create a spirit of
competition and a spirit that strives for excellence. I’m not talking
about perfection, but rather encouraging a spirit that is always
looking to improve. In creating that environment, what it
will deliver to the organization, is an understanding that life is
not fair. Some times you’re going to get the deal even if you
have the best solutions because their CEO is friends with your
****You can’t always control those situations, but you can always
control how you respond. No one owes you anything, and you’re
not entitled to anything. In other words, you have to go out and
earn everything. Goals and dreams are attained
through hard work and the desire to
never give up until you’ve accomplished
the task at hand.
****Fostering this environment for excellence
puts people in a position to succeed
and a place where they can be teachable
going forward. In doing so, once you start
rewarding performance, when you acknowledge
those that are succeeding and
those people are striving to get their head
above the rest and their efforts are rewarded
as a result, we start breaking the self-entitlement
bubble. We don’t accept average anymore and individuals
learn discipline, accountability, determination, a willingness
to accept critique, a desire to constantly learn, and at the end of
the day it raises everyone’s game. Now that encourages others to
strive for greatness, too.
****Organizations that promote this type of environment demonstrate
that there are no limits on what the individual can accomplish
and what they can contribute to the organization. You
inspire workers to look beyond the boundaries and look outside
the box. That spirit of competition fosters continual growth. In
the end, the company wins and the individual wins because they
are more willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals.
Make no mistake, this doesn’t happen overnight. If the company
promotes ongoing learning, sets forth a vision, and reward
risk taking and give incentives to individuals that have gone above
and beyond, they can eliminate this enemy called average.
I know you’re asking; “What does this mean for my business?”
****As a technology vendor, if you foster this environment
instead of having a sales team that just takes orders, is not persistent
and doesn’t follow through, this strategy will get you a
staff that will move past those hurdles and improve your bottom
line as a result.
****As a lender, when this competitive spirit is part of your culture,
your employees will seek ways to produce better quality
loans, increase transparency and they’ll continue to battle for
borrowers even though origination volume is expected to decline
****Companies must eliminate a sense of entitlement and create
a competitive environment where everyone strives for excellence.
****ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Hammond is chief strategy officer at PROGRESS in Lending Association and the founder and president of
NexLevel Advisors. NexLevel provides solutions in business development, strategic selling, marketing, public relations
and social media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.