Avoid Tolerating Mediocrity

There is no shortage of mediocrity. The truly successful firm always displays some form of eminence, a measure of distinction, merit or virtue that transcends the ordinary. Striving to be the best demands a pledge to be better, to do better, and to accomplish more. As an effective firm leader you must continually communicate the message that we are the best and are an elite corps.

Create infectious optimism and radiate confidence.

Pay attention when someone has a performance problem. You owe it to those who are striving to be their best. Unaddressed deficiencies can have a negative effect on every member of your team. By dealing with performance issues as early as possible, you can prevent them from growing more serious, and more distasteful for both you and your other colleagues to face. An important lesson for me to discover, was that unlike a good wine, performance problems never get better with age.

Provide hands-on, one-to-one coaching. Investigate each deficiency to uncover its root cause. If the issue stems from a lack of skills, arrange for skill building remedial action with either formal training or senior mentoring. If there is an obstacle to performance, explore what can be done to eliminate it. If it is a personal problem of some sensitive nature, show support and follow through with further meetings to discuss the person’s progress. If you believe the professional can perform properly but just is not doing so, review the firm’s expectations with them and hold them accountable . . . or help them find a position somewhere else, more suited to their disposition.

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