If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
I didn’t understand this concept as a young child whose bedroom often appeared that an F4 tornado had blown through recently. Sent to clean my room, I would shove whatever I could under the bed and into the closets. Clothes went unfolded into drawers or tucked in places that couldn’t be easily seen. The comforter was placed on the bed but the sheets underneath were crumpled into the corner hiding under a pile of stuffed animals. Even though the floor became less treacherous and the room could be entered and navigated without fear of an unexpected obstacle, it wasn’t actually clean. Mom always knew, and I always had two more chances to make it right before she barged in with a giant garbage bag ready to throw my coveted belongings away.
Half-assing a responsibility is an insult to the task at hand. Failure to get the job done adequately demonstrates low effort, lack of attention and commitment, and an absence of pride in your work.
As a leader, part of your job is to make sure that processes are being adhered to, standards are being met, and the quality of work produced is high. When your people fall short of achieving a gold star regarding performance it is likely due to one of three possible causes:
Lack of Training: Ignorance of the expectation excuses no one. For employees outside of the initial onboarding and training period, “I didn’t knows” and “I forgots” are simply excuses. Ensure that proper training is implemented at the onset to avoid falling into a pit of excuses. Have reference material readily available and easily accessible for when refreshers and reminders are needed. Once Mom put labels on the Barbie buckets, there was never another missing high heel.
Volatile Expectations: If a made bed and a clear floor was considered clean last week, expecting an empty hamper, dust free dressers, and clean windows needs to be explicitly directed otherwise confusion sets in. When rules change frequently, suddenly, or with no warning, expecting your people to know where the bar is set is unrealistic. Set your standards on day one, change processes as needed but define the new goals and ways to achieve them.
Laziness: Sometimes I just didn’t care. I was a lazy preteen that just wanted to lay in my unmade bed, listening to my boombox while staring up at the poster of Leonardo. As promised, the large black garbage bag was filled with my treasures that were never to be seen again. Allowing for laziness or complacency is a slippery slope that leads to the landfill. It kind of stinks and there’s no digging your way out. Do not allow one lazy team member to drag the rest of your crew down. Allowing a single person’s idleness, gives them the power to set the new standard that bare minimum is considered success.
Training can be fixed. Process development and expectations can become more rigid. However, laziness can not be cured without the dreaded garbage bag.
Maintain an environment that fosters more than just showing up. Require that the job not only gets done, but gets done well.
The bed is made daily, and the dressers remain dust free (mostly). I’ll thank my Mom tonight for being the best boss a little girl could have had.
Maybe then she’ll tell me where my confiscated toys went.