Archive for March, 2014

Building a High Performance Culture Part X

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Words that Hurt: Sloth

In this tenth post on building a high performance culture I want to discuss a word that devastates organizations and ensures a person, business, non-profit or nation will never reach its potential: sloth.

More about sloth in a moment, but to bring yourself up to date with this series, peruse the following words from past posts that work to build strength in a culture, and words that hurt a culture. 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.

Tough-minded: strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed.

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: “a claim to something you feel you are owed”.

The word sloth is defined as, “reluctance to work or exert effort; laziness”. Sadly, sloth has become a cultural reality in our nation and has trickled down to infect every possible cultural aspect of industry. Sloth shows itself in the following ways:

  • Employees are passive throughout the day, waiting for something to happen rather than initiating action that could change the course of their day, week, month or life.
  • Workers expect to be rewarded simply for showing up, rather than stepping up and standing out.
  • Associates want to be acclaimed, measured and rewarded more for the hours they put in than by the quality of work they put in the hours.
  • Teammates are selfish and won’t go out of their way to help another unless there’s something in it for them.
  • People easily give up on a day, week or month when things get tough. Their lack of drive and dreams enables sloth and permits it to dominate their lives.
  • Tenured employees expect their seniority, experience or yesterday’s credentials to substitute for results today.

As cultural diseases like entitlement and sloth pervade more and more cultures, it’s no wonder it has never been easier to stand out in your job. Doing slightly more than expected will get you noticed; going far above and beyond expectations, and doing so consistently, will nearly ensure you put yourself in a league of your own. Yes, thanks to the pervasive stench of cultural sloth in both society and business, there’s never been so much room at the top. Sadly, for business and society this means that it’s getting increasingly crowded at the bottom; the competition amongst the mediocre is becoming even more intense.