“Good turns to great, as long as change continues to happen before the need is obvious to all”

Kristen and I are lucky enough to be having another baby girl in April.  Similar to when we had our first (Eloise), everyone is very jovial in congratulating us, while at the same time making sure we know that “2” makes it a whole new ball game.   The most common comments have been: “You better be ready”; “Your life is really going to change now”; “You have had it easy so far”, “2 is the same as 10”, etc.. While we are super excited, we know that if we do not start planning and making changes, the stress will be overwhelming and there will be failure in other areas.   We will make adjustments, and it will be tough in the beginning, but it is going to be GREAT to add another little girl to the Barstow family.  We are working on this now, rather than waiting until April.

Now let’s apply the same concept to our professional lives.   When leadership is not invoking change, bad things happen.  This applies to reacting to potential problems and opportunities, as well as innovating.   In an environment with great leadership, we should never hear co-workers say things like “If I was running this place we would definitely be offering xyz”, “Why is Joe on the team – he does absolutely nothing”, or “We are always behind in being different and offering new products/services – we can’t compete”.  We should be continuously giving birth to new ideas.  And we should be testing them with our teams and customers, preparing for any changes needed, and then launching them as new successes.

Lack of new initiatives/changes will lead to failure, as will poorly planning and executing the launch of something new that should be considered GREAT from the very beginning.

The best feedback a leader can receive from a team member……”I have always known what is expected of me, and the organization always takes care of me when I exceed expectations”

Long-term success relies on setting the right expectations with those we lead and then having timely, adequate, and consistent follow-up.  This concept is similar to our focus on setting and living up to customer expectations.   Just like customers, our team members want to be successful and they look to us to provide that opportunity.  We must count on them to grow and be successful in their current and future roles in order to ensure that customers are being taken care of and that we continue to grow and focus on innovating.   So what is the secret sauce?  


  • Setting Expectations – The most successful people always want to know how they are doing, so lets make sure they have a measuring stick:  The best people have a burning need to know what success looks like.  In fact – they will end up leaving the organization if that need is not met.  We need to help paint that picture by helping with the creation of goals and having the systems in place to track progress.
  • Team members need to be held accountable based on those expectations:  Once the path to success is laid out, it should be considered the road map and what we expect them to do.   Which means that we should routinely inspect and mentor them. 
  • Swift and consistent discipline/reward are required:  If a team member loses their way or even shows the smallest sign that they may be off track, we are just as responsible for their ultimate failure if we do not confront them right away.  Equally important is coming through with rewards, which can be in the form of recognition, money, and/or new opportunities.

Can you imagine an organization where no one knows what is expected, and there is no consistency to discipline/reward?   Just sounds like a really messy and dysfunctional house to me……..