Kathy Sierra has a great post today on The Zone of Mediocrity.  You’ve got to take a look at it!  So many of us are dealing with just this struggle in what we’re doing.  Under the heading of YOU CAN’T PLEASE EVERYONE, all of us need to pick a target and go after that one full tilt.  When we compromise and try to get both groups we usually find ourselves in a middle zone that doesn’t get either one!  As illustrated by Kathy’s great drawing:

Zone of MediocrityRecognize that spot?  That’s where you are when you compromise your vision to keep one team member happy.  It’s where you are when you can’t commit to simplify and eliminate the pieces or programs that no longer make sense.  It’s where you are when you’re still budgeting for the part of your overall effort that no longer connects with your customer and instead keeps bringing back the group that doesn’t really dig the new thing you’re trying to do.

Okay.  We all recognize the spot.  The question is…what will we do about it?

Here’s the solution:

  • First, we need to be clarifying the win.  We need to be asking, “what are we really trying to do and who are we trying to reach.”  Hint: can’t be everything and everybody.  We need to be very specific about what a win will look like.
  • Second, we need to think about the steps that will enable the win.  What will allow initial movement and what will be a perfect next step that is obvious, easy and strategic.
  • Last, we need to narrow the focus and only do the things that contribute to the win.  Anything else leads to an off-ramp, what 7 Practices refers to as sideways energy.

For more on clarify the win see Clarify the Win and More on Clarify the Win.  For more on narrowing the focus see Narrow the Focus.

You can (and should) read Kathy’s whole post right here.

The Zone of Mediocrity