Jeff Judy

Jeff's Thoughts - July 25, 2007

Pet Peeve: Striving for Mediocrity I

Have you read your institution's strategic plan or mission statement lately? Do they include a lot of phrases like:

I didn't think so. They probably say things about being a market leader, a top performer, setting and achieving the highest standards. In fact, that's why so many managers and employees take advantage of the summer to attend the seminars and banking school courses I and other instructors offer.

And that's what I talk about in the classroom, best practices aimed at results that put you at the front of your market. But just as I'm making headway, sharing the most effective strategies and most powerful tactics, a participant will raise a hand and comment:

"We'd like to do that, but we have to match the competition."

Is this what ultimately drives key decisions at your organization? If this is a guiding principle at your shop:

Does that list match the lofty ideals stated at the front of your annual report?

More importantly, even if it doesn't match how you describe your institution, does it describe how your institution actually works?

No one is suggesting you shouldn't be aware of the competition. But a simple "match what they do" philosophy means you have outsourced key decisions to be made by the least competent players in your market.

If being average is what you want, if it feels safe and you don't dare try out an original idea, then go for it -- as long as that's a conscious decision. If being the best in your market is what you want, then you'll have to break with the competition one way or another.

And in the next issue of Jeff's Thoughts, we'll talk about some ways to do just that. To Be Continued . . .