Friday, December 25, 2009

How to Maintain a Solid Commitment to Mediocrity

As I was reading Scott Briscoe’s recent post on Acronym titled Is Mediocrity Really The Worst Option, Scott’s comments that “you should never expend resources on something you know is mediocre” really caught my attention.

For quite some time I have been hearing about how workers, both for-profit and non-profit, are struggling with too much to do and therefore a lack of work-life balance. In many ways I believe this is due to a lack of data to effectively drive decision making in combination with a severe lack of prioritization. I have noticed that many staffers spend quite a bit of time on projects that do not have a positive ROI (ROI not necessarily meaning money, but any sort of result) and this worries me.

It worries me because many times this focus on activities that do not move the association forward in some way detracts from a staffer’s ability to focus on activities that would have a more positive outcome and/or detracts from their ability to work reasonable hours, have a personal life, and avoid burnout and stress. I am sure there are other reasons why association staff are focusing on projects and activities that do not have the impact as others they could be working on. If you have experienced any yourself, please share them here.



  1. I think most people work in "mediocre" mode in order to just get it done.. I know plenty of companies who do just the same and put out services and product in the same way.. I just left a company , although publicy promoting "excellence" definitely producing mediocre services yet their own staff would have liked to have produced an "excellent" product and service.. in this case.. it was a management issue as to why only "mediocrity" was the output...It was one of the reasons why I left..

  2. Interesting point: I often hear from smaller or low-penetration associations who emphasize that they are "quality not quantity" when it comes to membership, and their products. What I try to encourage them to consider is the fact that EVERYONE would take the same tack if they're not the market leader, regardless of whether they are truly higher quality or not. Authenticity is important, but what options do we have in marketing when we're NOT the best? Caveat emptor for the customer, and improve your quality internally for the marketer. Not everyone does it and it's hard to play for a losing team, but the end result is a skeptical public and the eternal challenge of getting beyond the marketing hype for customers. -K