Work Your Standards Baby!

What is a standard and why are they so important to success in our businesses AND our day-to-day lives? Time to reveal the hidden super powers that having great standards hold.

We have all had that disgruntled feeling when something is not going as well as we hoped in our business. Sometimes it is just an under current that bubbles away and other times it develops into a full rage that is eating you up from the inside out!

It could be a client who keeps cancelling meetings, an employee who is not diligent in their duties or a process that seem to not be working.

In that moment some of us feel out of control and damn right frustrated!

So what can we do about it?

If you stop for a moment and think about the issue at hand, ask yourself what standards do I have in this area?

A standard is a minimum acceptable level of quality or attainment you hold yourself or your business to. An expectation is the standard we hold others to.

When you look at an area of your business or indeed your life, where you are not getting the results you want there is a good chance you have a missing or dysfunctional standard at work. The outcome you are looking for is not what you are experiencing.

There are three important things to consider when thinking about how your standards are working for you:

  1. Have you communicated your expectation of your standard?
  2. Are your standards and expectations aligned?
  3. Is your standard giving you the result you want?

I recently heard a story from a business owner who told me that they were having problems with an employee who was not at their desk working at 9am and was often finishing early to attend to personal issues. When asked to help outside of normal hours this employee would say they were unavailable because of personal circumstances. The business owner was incensed by the staff member’s behaviour.

When I quizzed the business owner on what standards and expectations they had set for flexible working in their company it very quickly became apparent that there weren’t any that were discernible.

So who was the business owner really frustrated with; the employee for not correctly guessing what her employers standard were or herself for not setting the standard and communicating it clearly? By getting the business owner to clearly think about what her standards are in this area and then communicating them to her team, this meant the issue was instantly resolved and she was able to get on with growing her business.

Now this is powerful stuff because what this means is if you are not getting the results you want, by reviewing your standards and expectations then adjusting what’s not working, you can simply and effectively change your outcomes. YOU are back in the driving seat and no more frustration!

Great leaders are very skilled at setting standards for themselves and their organisations. What’s more they understand the importance of living congruently with them. Their standards are so much more than just words in a policy or a handbook; they live and breath them and influence everyone in their organsation to do the same.

We have all at some point, witness an ineffective leader at work. They will have a plethora of expectations of others but do not hold those same standards for themselves. When they are not getting the results they want they are stunned and perplexed. They will blame the non-result on the people around them of course without considering if the standards they have set are a match for the results they are trying to obtain.

Communication of a standard does not start and end with issuing a handbook or verbalising it once at an annual meeting, it requires consistent action to be taken day in day out so that others can model it.

Standards are also present in all other areas of your day-to-day life, whether it’s your expectations of others like family and friends, parenting or personal standards you hold yourself to.

An example most people will be able to relate to on a personal level is meeting a new partner. I have a friend who has been single for many years and although she would say it’s not through choice, it actually is.

The standards she expects of a partner are very high and very ridged which means that the chances of her meeting someone who matches all her criteria are very slim. If she was to ask herself this question, ‘how are the standards I have in this area serving me right now?’, how would the affect her experiences of meeting new men in her life?

If the standard is not delivering you with the result you want, change it now! As one of my favourite Einstein quotes says, ‘the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.’

I know someone who has a mother who makes derogatory comments about your appearance and many of us will have experienced a friend who always turns up late to your catch-ups. Most people will be seething about it on the inside and feel powerless, because it’s not you it’s them right and there’s nothing you can do about it?

Always consider if you have communicated your standard to the other party in a clear way that they understand. Sulking and being passive aggressive doesn’t count as an effective communication! Your expectations need to be clear so the other party is not left guessing what you meant. If you are not clear they will either most likely miss the message altogether or alternatively make up their own meaning which could be a long way from yours.

So next time you are not happy with the way things are going in your business or life ask yourself, what are my standards here? Are they serving me and have I communicated my expectations in a way that they are clearly understood?

This simple yet powerful shift in thinking can create remarkable changes to your outcomes and to your life.

If you are ready to shift your thinking and see your business grow contact Claire Whitelaw Brown at:

Tel: 0402 891144


Claire Whitelaw Brown
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Claire Whitelaw Brown

Business Consultant at CWB Growth Business Strategies
Claire is a business strategist passionate about helping accountants grow revenue, profits and cash flow.

As well as being a Chartered Management Accountant (CIMA) and ex-CFO with over 20 years experience, she has also worked extensively with small and medium sized business owners to help them grow profitable businesses.

She's also a certified coach, NLP practitioner, Metadynamics TM Consultant and contributor for Kochie’s Business Builders.
Claire Whitelaw Brown
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