Are You Sabotaging Your Success?

Posted On: November 7

A guest post from Frank Sonnenberg

If I were a basketball coach, I’d recruit the best players. As a parent, I want the best teachers for my kids. If I had a serious illness, I’d seek out the best doctor. You have to wonder — why would anyone recruit a second-rate athlete, want a teacher who had lost their appetite for teaching, or retain an inexperienced doctor for a serious illness? That would be sabotaging your chance of success. You’d want the best possible outcome, wouldn’t you?

Along the same lines, if you wanted to buy something, wouldn’t you search for the best product at the least expensive price? Why would anyone pay top dollar or go out of their way to buy inferior goods? If this premise holds true, why would anyone tolerate mediocrity in their organization? They’d be sabotaging their success and ultimately causing their organization’s demise.


Is Your Organization Promoting Excellence or Sabotaging Its Success?

Organizations don’t become excellent through magic. Leaders create an environment that’s conducive to excellence. Here are 10 ways you might be sabotaging your organization’s performance.


Do these business practices sound familiar? 
  1. Folks get paid for showing up rather than for producing results.
  2. Who you know becomes more important than what you do.
  3. Appearance becomes more important than substance.
  4. Tenure becomes more valued than outcomes.
  5. Looking busy becomes more important than getting stuff done.
  6. Performance evaluations are subjective rather than based on objective
  7. Everyone is compensated equally, regardless of effort or performance.
  8. Following the rules becomes more emphasized than doing the right thing.
  9. People have responsibility, but no one is accountable.
  10. Poor performance and dead weight are overlooked rather than addressed.


If You Don’t Strive for Excellence, You Won’t Achieve It

Some people say we shouldn’t distinguish between exceptional and mediocre performance — everyone should receive a trophy. While that sounds great in theory, it doesn’t work in practice.

If you want excellence, you have to recognize and reward it. Period. You can’t grant the mediocre employee the same reward as the superstar; you can’t give the average student the same grade as the terrific one; and you can’t award the team that finishes last the same prize as the team that finishes first. Why? you ask. It reduces any incentive to strive for the best, to do your best, or to be the best.


People stop trying when there’s no benefit for being exceptional and no consequence for being mediocre.

Some people raise the issue of compassion — everyone should benefit equally. Ask yourself, did everyone make an equal investment? Did everyone make an equal effort? Did everyone produce equal results? The reason some folks deserve a greater reward is because they earned it.


You don’t get what you want; you get what you deserve.

Therefore, if you want to promote excellence and still be compassionate, the answer isn’t giving everyone a trophy regardless of how well they perform; rather, the answer is giving everyone an equal opportunity and providing them withthe tools to achieve success. Therefore, everyone is free to decide how hard they’re willing to work and the sacrifices they’re prepared to make to achieve success.


If you’re not willing to make the commitment, don’t complain about the outcome.

This applies to organizations and individuals alike. If you want to achieve excellence, you must strive for it and settle for nothing less. We don’t gain anything by lowering the bar so that everyone can clear it. That breeds mediocrity. There is a difference between winners and losers. In most cases, a winner did everything in their power to achieve success. The loser did not.


When you tolerate mediocrity, you get more of it.

Ask yourself whether you’re more likely to get beaten by your competitors or by yourself. The truth is, your future will be determined more by choice than by chance. Are you sabotaging your success?


Please visit my site at if you want to get in contact with me. I’d love to hear from you.

performer performance

Check out Frank’s new book, The Path to a Meaningful Life.

Frank Sonnenberg is an award-winning author and a well-known advocate for moral character, personal values, and personal responsibility. He has written nine books and has been named one of “America’s Top 100 Thought Leaders” and one of “America’s Most Influential Small Business Experts.” Frank has served on several boards and has consulted to some of the largest and most respected companies in the world. Frank’s newest book, The Path to a Meaningful Life, was released June 2022.
Additionally, his blog — FrankSonnenbergOnline — has attracted millions of readers on the Internet. It was recently named one of the “Top Self-Improvement and Personal Development Blogs” in the world, and it continues to be named among the “Best 21st Century Leadership Blogs,” the “Top 100 Socially-Shared Leadership Blogs,” and the “Best Inspirational Blogs On the Planet.”
© 2022 Frank Sonnenberg. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from is strictly prohibited.

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