Customer experience feedback concept. Red stars, poor rating about services with a female hand. White table


The idea of mediocrity has been studied ad nauseam in business case studies. But what is mediocrity, really? Is it what Jim Collins calls “good” in “Good to Great?” Some say mediocrity isn’t quite good enough to be good. A few say it is bad, but no one says it is excellent. So what is it? About a month ago I wrote about “Quiet Quitting” which I think is another way of saying “I’m going to do enough to get by.” Maybe that is the definition of mediocrity. I think the author of that Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal was implying that striving for excellence and maybe even desiring to “get better” is no longer fashionable. What does this mean for O&P?

I often mention a guy named Jon Spence in this blog and I can’t write about this week’s topic without bringing him back into the picture. One of his more memorable quotes is “ambiguity leads to mediocrity” so mediocrity is a trigger word that I immediately associate with him. With John’s wisdom front and center, I have to ask the question, which comes first, the societal acceptance of mediocrity or the lack of clarity around the definition of success? Is it a behavioral problem or a leadership problem?

I don’t know about you, but if I were in need of orthotic or prosthetic care, I don’t think I would ask where I can get mediocre care. Hey, who’s the local orthotist that learned just enough to get by? Who’s the prosthetist I can go to to get a new foot that might be ok? 

Or I need a heart catheter…which hospital does just enough to not get sued? Mediocrity in healthcare should be 100% unacceptable.  

So what are you doing to ensure that mediocrity does not become associated with your business? In every job, there is real danger that the familiarity of the routine can cause us to become less sensitive to the criticality of the work being performed. As a leader, it is your job to make sure everyone knows how important their job is to the overall mission of the company, and how much it matters to your patients that you deliver excellence at every opportunity. It is a very high standard. Clearly articulating and reinforcing your expectations is absolutely critical to keeping excellence in the forefront of the staff’s minds.  

Coach, mentor, find passion, cultivate and harness your staff’s desire to make the patient experience positive every time. Anything less should never be acceptable and the moment you settle for mediocrity, you set the expectation of mediocrity organization-wide. Read John’s blog at the link above and submit a comment below…let’s start a dialogue on O&P excellence.

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