The major thing I learned as a lesson in 2006 is that Mediocrity is the Enemy.
I believe that the single most important improvement any company can make is to fire all the mediocres, the slackers and wankers, the negative nellies and neds. Allowing sandbags, retirement coasters, and lazies to slink around with pampered status is horrible for team spirit and organizational morale.
CEO, find out who in your company complains all the time. Which employees habitually blame others? Which employees fear taking risks? Which employees are always late, waste time chit-chatting, never attend company parties or picnics, and expect special treatment?
You know what to look for. Those who are cynical, and give grudging customer service. Those who think the mission statement is a joke. The employees who think of their job as just a paycheck, and always do the bare minimum, the least work they can get away with, and are good at kissing ass and schmoozing.
The employees who hate new technology and the learning of new skills. Those who resist change and stubbornly cling to the old ways.
It's the mediocre in ourselves, too, that we must attack and persecute. We must inspect our own methods and attitudes, and root out any halfway measures. We must keep striving for excellance in everything we do, no beta, no trial runs, everything must start with Zero Defects and end in Absolute Customer Euphoria.
Miserably Servile Customer Pampering is the royal road to success. It's the customers who deserve to be accommodated. It's the customers who deserve special treatment, one at a time, with total attention paid to their complaints, suggestions, and needs.
Your good employees are not happy having to work with slackers. The negative, lazy attitude of mediocres grinds away at the motivations of dedicated workers. No longer shall we tolerate the coddling of whiners and naysayers, the cynical and morose amongst us who drag down the triumphant spirit and conquering mood that's critical for organizational success.
As Tom Peters says in his book Talent (DK, 2005, p. 64): "Reward excellant failures. Punish mediocre successes."
Those who try great new things, even though they fall flat on their face and feel foolish, are critical to your success. Get rid of those who stick to past procedures and what made you successful yesterday. It's a new day, and a new day needs new thinking. Only innovators will succeed and remain competitive.
What are you waiting for? Do what must be done and do it now, today.