Good Habits #26: Be a Paragon of Standards

By | October 17, 2016

[October 17, 2016]  There’s an old saying in the U.S. Army that goes something like this … “If you pass a problem by, you just set a new standard … a lower standard.”  As a military leader when a problem (or issue, or concern) is overlooked, the troops will notice and see that leadership expectations are not as high as they once were.

Achieving excellence in any organization – whether it be church, a business, the military, or even the family – means those very people are the ones who will make it achieve success or make it fail.  Motivation will take their organization beyond the minimum required and that means engaged leaders at every level.

It takes considerable due-diligence to achieve this habit.  Every day, every minute, the leader must be on the lookout for the opportunity to communicate standards and motivate everyone to live up to the promise of excellence.  It follows, that without giving the authority to achieve excellence means nothing will happen above the minimum.

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill of 2010 shows us what a culture of the minimum will do.  Interestingly, there is now a movie starring Kurt Russell about the explosion but I’ve not seen it.  If you see BP Oil commercials today you will hear the narrator talk about how any of their employees, regardless of position, have the authority to shutdown any operation they believe to be unsafe.

This shows how serious BP Oil is has taken the hard-earned lessons from the mistakes made at the company.  For a summary of those mistakes, see a good article at slate.com (link here) and Wikipedia.com (link here).

Great leaders are never satisfied with either the status quo or unnecessary risk taking.  Missions like ultra-deep water drilling, military Special Forces defending local citizens, and skyscraper firefighting require professional men and women who have been highly trained and who have a level of dedication not typically seen elsewhere.

Without leaders being the paragon of standards – every day without hesitation – excellence like this cannot be realized.

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.