1 Common Mistake that Causes Great Businesses to Produce Mediocre Results–And 3 Steps to Fix It

Getting real results from the initiatives you engage in starts with making one simple decision.

Staff Writer

When you peel back the curtain on the habits that lead to the success of some of the world’s most elite athletes, entrepreneurs, and companies, what stands out is their commitment to excellence in achieving the goals they set out to achieve. They “go all in” on the strategies they’ve determined will get them the results they desire.

For instance, Amazon goes all in on maintaining their Day 1 entrepreneurial culture. Jeff Bezos says maintaining a sense of urgency and remaining vigilant in adding value to their customers is the key to their success.

Netflix is going all in on original content. In 2018, they will spend $6 billion on this strategy to win more customers, even though it will propel them further into debt.

And recently Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty went all in on inclusion, by launching their makeup line with 40 different shades of foundation to accommodate women with different complexions all over the world.

Going all in pays many dividends. That’s why it is a shame so many companies don’t lean into it.

Why many companies struggle with commitment.

Even though a dogged commitment to executing a strategy has worked well for countless brands, many companies hold back. They engage in activities they know have the potential to grow their businesses, but they don’t give it the attention and resources they deserve to see meaningful results.

In her book The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, Dr. Valerie Young provided some insight as to why so many people hold back.

It’s far less painful not to try than to expose yourself to others’ judgment of your work and risk falling short. Plus, if you never really give it your best shot, you can always claim (if only to yourself) that you could have been a great writer, artist, leader, or lawyer–that is, if you’d really tried.

Are you guilty of holding back on key activities in your business?

Holding back is rarely an intentional decision. Most businesses don’t choose to just go through the motions or put in minimal effort to check a box, even though that’s what they find themselves doing.

Here’s what holding back often looks like in practice:

  • Publishing content weekly on your blog, but not doing anything to promote it consistently.
  • Talking about building a more diverse team, but not changing any of your hiring processes.
  • Expressing an intention to create a company culture where your team feels like they belong, but never implementing any of their suggestions for improving the culture.

If you want to build a business that thrives, you’ve got to make going all-in your norm. Fully committing to a way of operating doesn’t mean you have to be perfect from day one. Tim Ferriss, best-selling author of 4-Hour Work Weekoffered a helpful way to think of it:

“If you start out bad but are incrementally improving towards awesome, that’s totally fine. If you’re half-assing it and coasting, find something else you can whole-ass.”

Follow these three steps to go all in so you can get the results you want.

1. Declare your intention.

Restaurant chain Chipotle publicly declared their intention to become GMO-free well in advance of making their goal their reality in 2015.

When you are clear about what you intend to accomplish, you can start working on a plan that makes your vision come to life. Telling others about your desire helps create the accountability you needed to stay the course over time.

2. Build a culture that supports your goals.

Once you declare your intention, you need to build the systems, processes, and culture that paves the way for you to live into your goal.

The Ritz-Carlton gives each employee $2000 per guest per day to use at their discretion to delight customers or make a situation right. By empowering their team to deliver extraordinary customer service, they prove they are committed to creating remarkable experiences that keeps their customers coming back.

3. Start saying no.

In their best-selling book, The One Thing, authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan argued that focus is essential:

Achievers always work from a clear sense of priority...Extraordinary results are disproportionately created by fewer actions than most realize.

Going all in on your most important initiatives means you have to say no to others that you have not prioritized as essential. Embrace the Pareto Principle, in that 80 percent of your results will come from 20 percent of your activities.

You can perform at an elite level and get extraordinary results from your efforts. But you’ve got to stop spreading your resources thin by being mediocre at a bunch of different activities. Instead, focus your energy on going all in on one or two initiatives you are confident will move the needle for you. Then work toward being awesome at them.

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