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Pretty Good Is Not Good Enough

A big part of my job is to convince managers that they aren’t great. No one likes to hear that and it can be hard to convey that message without insulting people. If I insulted you at any point - I’m sorry (sort of because it was probably at least a little true).

While we can all agree that bad managers are an issue (and there are quite a few of them), most of those bad managers have no clue they are bad. Convincing them is a long-term proposition.

What about the good or pretty good managers? That is the most challenging sweet spot. Those managers usually know they can do better (self-awareness is a wonderful thing). What they don’t realize is the fap between pretty good and great is huge. More importantly, the benefit of being great vs. pretty good is huge as well.

We tend to think of the results of managing in a very linear fashion. Bad is low on results and great is high on results, and it is an even climb between.

The reality is that the results line is anything but linear. As you can see in the graphic below, there are benefits as managers become better, but the real significant results only happen when greatness is achieved.

The good news: anyone can be great. Once you know the behaviors, anyone can do them, it is just a matter of consistency.

If you think you are “pretty good”, well done, but you are drastically underperforming what you should/could be doing.

If that is insulting, sorry (sort of).

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