Higher Standards

One current overwhelming reality is that there is no lack of moral failure in our society. We need only think of recent sports figures, politicians and others who have destroyed their lives because a pattern of decreasing moral standards was allowed to continue unabated. Surely these same individuals knew what the consequences would be for their actions. Didn’t they? Yet, they continued until it all fell apart.

Wake Up Call

As gifted men and women, ones who lead and drive dynamic organizations, we must be on guard against declining standards. Unless we consciously set higher and higher moral standards, we will continue to slip the other direction… In other words, there is no middle ground. Lack of progression equals decline.

The same principle applies to organizations as well as individuals. It has been said that the greatest hindrance to tomorrow’s success is today’s. We naturally tend to settle. We cannot allow this to happen. The dynamic organizational leader will reward the success of today, and set new goals for tomorrow.

“You don’t understand, that will burn out my people! We already drive the work ethic pretty heavily.”

Let me say this as delicately as I can; “Stop your excuses.” The reality is that people want progression. They want to be a part. If you are losing them, they either fail to see value or they are not feeling rewarded or recognized for the incremental accomplishments.

A Word of Warning

Driving success means celebrating success. Many leaders set the vision high. Rightly so. However, many of them make a terrible error by setting the celebration for accomplishment at the same level. This is wrong. We need to see the vision as the distant place we want to arrive, but we need to reward and recognize each of the steps in getting there.

Come with me to Paris. I was standing at the base of the Eiffel Tower and told my family to “look up!” I said, “we’re going to climb the stairs to the top!” “What!?!” came the reply. It was drudgery, until I began to count out the steps in increments of fifty. “Fifty… One Hundred… One Fifty…” Soon everyone was calling them out; “Two Hundred!!!” What started as drudgery, became excitement as we celebrated each fiftieth step. “Two Fifty!” Before we knew it, we were at the top! Six hundred and seventy four steps!

Had we waited until we came to the top to celebrate, I would have had to listen to requests to take the elevator the entire way up! Perhaps one of my kids would have broken ranks and headed the other direction. Maybe mutiny at step number Three Ninety Nine. Or, having made it to the top, faced a family who–for their anger–failed to appreciate the spectacular view from the top.

Celebrate each and every landing on your organizational journey, and set the next highest standard when you arrive.