Archive for December, 2013

Building a High Performance Culture Part VIII

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Words that Hurt: Entitle

In this eighth post on building a high performance culture I want to discuss a word that hurts: entitle. A sense of entitlement creates mindsets and attitudes that drain cultures of morale, momentum, resources and inhibits peak performance.

For a quick review of this series, peruse the following words that work in a culture, and words that hurt a culture, from the past seven blog posts. This will help you grasp the concepts, values and mindsets necessary for great performance; and help you identify and weed out those that are harmful.

Words that work:

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Words that hurt:

Fault: responsibility for failure.

To use in a sentence: It’s not my fault I had a bad month. In other words, I’m a victim.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle is defined as “a claim to something you feel you are owed”. The problem arises when people aren’t owed what they feel they have coming; they have neither earned nor deserve it. Examples of entitlement are as follows:

  • People expect an end-of-the-year raise because it’s the end-of-the-year; not because they earn or deserve it.
  • People expect a promotion because they’ve been there the longest, not because they’re the best person for a job.
  • You provide lunches for your team on a busy Saturday, and soon they begin to complain about the choices.
  • A poor performer feels entitled to extra help, perks or attention because he’s struggling, not because he’s performed in a manner worthy of additional company resources being invested in him.
  • People expect their tenure, experience or credentials to substitute for results; they believe the past entitles them to a permission slip to slack in the present.

With a rise of entitlement in society you can expect to see more entitlement in business, and in households (with entitled kids), since trends in these arenas tend to follow trends in society in general. You can also rest assured that nothing welcomes entitlement into your culture faster than a lack of accountability. Frankly, it’s tougher for people to become entitled when they’re held accountable for results.

A common question is, “Aren’t we entitled to something in the workplace?” The answer is absolutely: all you’ve earned and deserve; what you’ve acquired through merit; what you’re worthy of, what you’ve qualified for. All perks over and above that are gifts. People should be grateful for them, but should understand they don’t have them coming.