A great discussion was sparked at my job the other day. It originally was about the term “average” and kind of trailed off into the feeling of entitlement and how that can be negative in the world of business.
What does the word “average” mean to you?
To me it means not good enough. Which is weird because according to Webster’s lovely dictionary, the definition of average (as an adjective) is “of the usual or ordinary standard, level, or quantity”. So average means standard. It’s common to be told that C’s are the average grade to get in school, but no one wants to be the kid at the lunch table saying.. “I got a C on that test”. Or even better no one wants to be that employee that gets rated average on their quarterly review.
In this rapidly progressing society, average is quickly becoming the enemy of success. So if you want to be ranked above average at work, in school, or anywhere really, what can you do?
It’s simple. Don’t acquire the feeling of entitlement. WARNING: This is a generalization and not everyone falls under this category, so no one bite my head off for these next few statements. I have heard it said many times that this younger generation is the entitled generation. Why? Because they are used to getting things handed to them immediately. Whether it be from mom and dad, or just technology and media in general. You want to talk to your friends non-stop, easy, get a cell phone. Right there you have over 100+ ways you can get in contact with people instantly. You want that new pair of cute designer boots that literally were put on the rack 3 hours ago, 1-click buy with Amazon. ONE CLICK PEOPLE…. NOT EVEN MULTIPLE CLICKS…. just one. You get the point. After a while of not being told no kids start to feel entitled.
Not only can entitlement be fostered in people, it can be something that we feel subconsciously and it is only brought to light when we don’t have or get something we normally have. The best example I can think of is most of us feel we are entitled to clean running water, from a sink, that we don’t have to boil before consuming. When all over the world there are countries that have to get their water from a river or a well and they have to boil it before they can consume it. So when something goes wrong and you can’t drink out of your faucet all of the sudden it a big deal. I can guarantee that if some people had to go out to river to get their water, or even a well in their back yard, there would be complaining for days.
An example of entitlement in the world of business: Lets say you have a client that you provide services for on a monthly basis and the only way that client really knows that you are doing your job is a monthly report you send out detailing what you have done, the success of your work and what you plan to do. You provide this client with an average monthly report for your services, that client thinks its okay and sticks around for a few years and over all they are okay with their services and reporting. You get comfortable and continue doing the same thing over and over. Changes could be made to make your reporting better but nahhhh. Why change whats already working right? You start to feel entitled to that clients continual business which in turn is reliable profit. Then, all of the sudden they get a sample of an excellent report from a competing company that does the exact same thing that you do. In an instant your reliable source of profit decides he wants excellent…not just okay, average, mediocre. You are mad, thinking..” well I thought he was happy with my report. He never complained never had any questions..It was easy”.
With this ever progressing world we live in, just okay results are no longer enough. Average performance will help you find a first class seat to sitting on the unemployment train. Feeling entitled to anything is a slippery slope towards mediocrity and not to mention a big head. Now, there are situations where employees are doing great job and SHOULD be getting a raise or bonuses and are just not being recognized, but I’m not talking about that right now.
Want results in almost everything that you do? Strive for excellence and not just average. Want to be a more openminded person? Don’t expect things. Don’t let the feeling of entitlement put you on the slippery slope of mediocrity. Appreciate the little things and the big things even more. Work hard, it is that simple.