While the faint at heart complained that the performance expectations Dave identified as the business facts of life were too demanding and harsh for most workplaces, He disagreed and continue to contend that letting people live in a gray area and failing to stretch them with higher standards is what is truly harsh.
Following are 25 sample business facts of life.
1. It’s o.k. not to like a part of your job, but it’s not o.k. not to do it. In fact, I don’t expect you to like everything about your job. That’s why we pay you to do it.
Commentary: If you loved everything about your job, we’d have to turn the place into an amusement park and charge you admission for coming to work each day.
2. In matters concerning our values and standards, you have a voice but not a vote. I will listen to your input, but I will ultimately decide.
Commentary: It is the leader’s privilege and responsibility to create standards. I will not reduce my vision to accommodate your comfort zone.
3. Everyone on this team will be held to the same high standard of work ethic, customer care, and character, regardless how high their level of production.
Commentary: Being a top producer does not excuse you from continuing to work hard, caring for our customers, or living our values.
4. You are expected to prove yourself over again every day. Tenure, credentials, and years of experience don’t substitute for results.
Commentary: Yesterday ended last night. You will not be permitted to cash royalty checks or borrow credibility from what you did once-upon-a-time.
5. I will work with you as long as you continue to make measurable progress in reasonable time. However, if you reach a point where you hover at or below average performance levels with no upward trend, your future with this organization is in jeopardy.
Commentary: Frankly, if you don’t grow, you go.
6. I not only expect you to work hard on the job, I expect you to work hard on yourself.
Commentary: Your business will get better when you get better. Never wish it were easier, wish you were better.
7. Our compensation programs will be heavily weighted to reward above average performers and above average results. We will not weaken the strong in order to strengthen the weak.
Commentary: We run a meritocracy, not a welfare state.
8. When promotions are available, they will go to the most deserving member of the team regardless of longevity, gender or ethnic background.
Commentary: The person “next in line” will always be the most deserving person. We’re running a business, not the Royal Family.
9. I expect you to focus on what you can control and never assume a victim’s mindset to explain away your lack of success.
Commentary: Success is more about inside decisions than outside conditions. Take responsibility for your life.
10. I measure loyalty by performance, not the number of years you cash our paychecks.
Commentary: Loyalty is more about what you put into the time than the time you put in. The most disloyal thing you can do is to stop performing.
11. I will give you consistent and honest feedback on performance.
Commentary: If you’re great, I’ll tell you. If you’re failing, I’ll tell you. If you’re ever unclear where you stand, ask me.
12. I expect you to tell me what I need to hear and not what you think I’d like to hear.
Commentary: Kissing up will only succeed in keeping you down.
13. I will train you and invest in your development, but I also expect you to invest in yourself.
Commentary: If you don’t invest in yourself, why should anyone else?
14. I expect you to lead by personal example, not personal convenience. This means you must commit yourself to a cause and not commit the cause to yourself.
Commentary: Before you stand to lead, stoop to serve.
15. Lying, cheating, and stealing are grounds for immediate dismissal.
Commentary: If this has to be explained, you should leave now.
16. I expect you to add value to others on your team. Be a giver and not just a taker.
Commentary: If you’re in it only for yourself, you’re in a mighty small business.
17. You are expected to always do what is right, not what is easy, cheap, popular, or convenient.
Commentary: And you will do so without excuse and regardless of the cost.
18. If you have personal problems that affect your work, I will listen, advise, and try to help you. However, you are expected to work through the paradox of solving your personal problems while you continue to get results on the job.
Commentary: Personal problems cannot become a permission slip for an indefinite production holiday.
19. I expect you to become brilliant in the basics of your job.
Commentary: You don’t have to do anything extraordinary to get the next performance level. Instead, I expect you to do the ordinary things extraordinarily well.
20. I expect you to learn from mistakes and continue to take shots even when you miss.
Commentary: When you hit a wall learn to bounce, not splatter.
21. I expect you to avoid repeating the same mistakes.
Commentary: Carelessness will not be permitted to become a lifestyle.
22. I expect you to become an “and then some” person.
Commentary: Do what you say, and then some. Hit your numbers, and then some. Keep your commitments, and then some.
23. You will not whine, gossip, or complain about personal issues on company time.
Commentary: You will not be permitted to inflict distractions, momentum-breakers, or negativity on your teammates.
24. There is no tolerance for employees who make the numbers, but violate the values. Thus, I will measure you by two metrics: performance expectations and behavioral expectations.
Commentary: Our core values are non-negotiable. They will shape your behaviors; you will not infect our culture by abusing them.
25. I will listen to explanations for job failures, but not excuses. I expect you to take responsibility.
Commentary: Excuses are the DNA of underachievers. One of the best days of your life is when you give them up. Why not start today?
Some of these business facts of life may have comforted you, while others confronted you.
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