What does “giving it your all” really mean? When you ask your team to give 110% effort, do you really get that 110% … or do you get 100%, 80% or less? When you tell an employee, “Do your best,” are you setting yourself up for disappointment? When you say, “I’ll do my best,” are you really saying, “I’ll give it 80% of my 100%?” No doubt, defining what the 100% effort bar means on both sides of the conversation is highly subjective and open to interpretation.
This Monday Morning Wake Up is about perceived effort. When my cycling coach gives me a workout with a perceived effort of 9.5 (on a scale from 1 to 10, where a 10 is maximum effort), I know it’s going to hurt. If I just give it a 7, I’m intentionally avoiding the hard work and the measurable gains that come from it. As a leader, there are times when 100% effort is a non-negotiable. If your behavior pattern is to intentionally dial it back to 80%, don’t be surprised when the expected outcome falls short too. Giving 100% is a choice … as is giving 80%.
Here are some No-Compromise Leadership insights into “80% of 100%” thinking and behavior:
- Leaders establish perceived effort: Ever wonder why a company rarely hits their goals, is always tight for cash, or has excessive employee turnover? Simple. It has an 80% of 100% leader in charge. Employees and teams never give 100% effort for an 80% leader because the leader has set the perceived effort level at 80%. The only way for a team to surpass the leader’s 80% is to mutiny. And because employees cannot force a leader to walk the plank, they do just enough to get by … or they resign. GOTTA DO: Take a personal reality check on your perceived level of effort. If it’s not set at 100%, don’t expect 100% effort from your team.
- Earn their 20%: People follow leaders that stand for something beyond just hitting numbers. Tapping into that extra 20% requires trust, clarity, appreciation, open communication, fairness and a whole lot of integrity. Too many leaders look in the opposite direction, trying to find better consequences to use as a stick when a simple carrot will do. Dynamic teams and cultures aren’t beaten via consequences into delivering extraordinary results … they are nurtured, inspired, trained and coached to greatness. GOTTA DO: Seal the door to your dungeon of consequences and learn the true meaning and process of leading people at a higher level.
- The dreaded 60% of 100%: The most dysfunctional companies and cultures have 60% leaders. These leaders are self-absorbed, egotistical, excel at the blame game and are short on integrity and trust. They avoid the work leadership requires and pretty much do what they want while expecting the most out of others. Who in their right mind would give 100% to such a leader with the knowledge that giving your best is never appreciated, let alone rewarded? When the best a leader can earn from his or her team is 60% of 100%, its time to recognize that winning the business game is only a pipe dream. GOTTA DO: The longer a 60% leader maintains control, the deeper into the fiery pit of hell the company goes – and the faster the company declines in value. It’s time for a turn-around intervention before all is lost.
- Leading the 100% company: Yes, it is possible to be a functioning, highly efficient, profitable and sustainable 100% company. As with the previous example, it is a choice that the leader or company owner alone must make. The good news is that it’s rarely too late to begin the quest for 100%. It’s like my last week’s MMWU, “Excellence is more than a choice” – you can choose to go for Excellence, but you also must choose to give it 100% effort, too. GOTTA DO: By design, giving 80% of 100% is average. If you’re OK with average, keep doing what you’re doing. If you want to experience what it’s like to play at the top of your game … and lead a winning company … give it 100% of your 100%. Go for it. No Compromise.
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