Rage Against The ‘Meh’: Our Fight Against So-So, OK and “That’s Fine”

Hey, it’s fine. Really.
You got 79% out of 100%? Sure, we’re ok with that.
The burger was a little undercooked. Ate it anyway. Whatever.
Just squeezed in under our sales target? I suppose we’ll live, fair enough.
How do I look? Fine you say?
We know it’s still in draft form, but it’s fine.

We get it. Life can be exhausting. The never-ending hamster wheel of do more, get more, be more and sleep less. So sometimes we simply acquiesce, close our eyes and just accept the OK. We avoid risk, take the easy way out, we settle. Why go that extra mile? After all, it’s an extra mile – and it sounds exhausting. Of course, we’re human and bound to have moments of indifference or apathy. But we grapple knowing that the complete ease and acceptance of a ‘Meh’ moment is becoming more the rule than the exception – especially in the workplace.

If you’re a senior executive or business leader – this can be excruciating to watch. Fortunately, we’re a company built on optimism and know firsthand how engagement, inclusion and encouragement can bring about positive changes. Ditch the words ‘meh,’ ‘so-so,’ ‘ok’ and ‘It’ll do’ from your work vocabulary. Indulge your inner Tony Robbins and prepare for the W, the awesome, the amazing and the p cool.

Let’s get to it. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover.

Communicate with Abandon

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. But a little ignorance is way worse. Employee and team communications matter! Information + Knowledge = Engagement and create commitment. Little drips don’t cut it, so make it count. And don’t make the mistake of thinking that your team can read your mind. They can’t. (Honestly, they shouldn’t have to.)

Communicate frequently, whether via regular emails, team town halls or MBWA (management by walking around). Get creative and host ThinkTank sessions (shameless plug) to share the company’s strategy, vision and tactical plan. Make it a two-way street, allowing them the opportunity to provide their suggestions, comments or feedback.

Share the Power and Empower

Knowledge bestows power. Let your teams use that power by giving them opportunities to make the call. Encourage decisiveness and give them more of a say in how they do their job. Ask for their input and solicit suggestions on how they can improve the outcome. Clearly you have very capable people that have tons of ideas about how they can be more efficient. Unfortunately, they may not feel comfortable enough to share them with you, unless you specifically ask them. So by all means, ask them. And then give them the freedom to act.

Encourage Risk Tasking

Mediocrity can feel like a giant, fluffy blanket. It’s comfortable, it’s safe and it sure is tough to leave behind. Yet, as is always the case with madness and genius, there are fine lines. In fact, we strongly suspect that the bridge between mediocrity and greatness is risk. Risks lead to empowered employees. And when someone is empowered, their expectations rise.

At Amazon, each department keeps track of how many experiments it runs each quarter (and how many succeed). Some companies add a “risk taking” component to annual performance reviews or create an “innovation portfolio” to measure and track each new idea submitted or implemented.

Proctor & Gamble and Tata offer annual rewards for the “failures” that result in the greatest learning opportunities for the company. When learning is embraced like that, even if an idea flops, employees will be excited to share their insights and lessons with the rest of the company.

Extended Stay America’s CEO, Jim Donald, gave employees “Get Out of Jail Free” cards that they could use when they wanted to take a big risk for the company. Handing out the cards showed employees that upper management valued risks and would support them if they took a chance.