Chapter 16The Truth about Mediocrity

The Challenge

Mediocrity is both dangerously and subtly seductive. Mediocre is defined as “of only ordinary or moderate quality; neither good nor bad; barely adequate” (, n.d.). Essentially, mediocrity is the opposite of excellent, which is synonymous with being superior. Without red belt hunger, you spend more time working around mediocrity than you do dealing with it. Consequently, you allow that which is average, ordinary, and not outstanding to linger within your organization. Because you learn to live with mediocrity, you are prone to permit it to endure even longer. Therein lies its seductive danger: The longer you live with mediocrity, the longer you live in mediocrity. No matter what aspect of your organization is mediocre, be it a strategy, policy, process, practice, or person, it will eventually infect your culture and seriously debilitate your ability to execute and achieve meaningful results. To fully implement and sustain master the art of execution (MAX), there must come a time when you get the pruning shears out and devastate mediocrity (both personal and organizational) rather than defend it, rationalize it, minimize it, externalize it, trivialize it, or compromise with it.

Take Responsibility for What's Mediocre in Your Organization

A clear sign of leadership maturity is the willingness to take responsibility. One aspect of this virtue is refusing to make excuses for personal failures or for the failure of ...

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