Our standards derive from our actions and inactions

Tony Robbins says that you never get what you want, you only get what you tolerate. The word “tolerate” has a particular connotation that has caused me to miss the point for a few years. When I phrased it this way, “we get our standards” something clicked. 

Here’s what I mean. If you ever drive into Seattle, you will notice something. Everything has graffiti on it. Like, everything. Overpasses, underpasses, buildings, light poles, curbs, and even the bike sharing bikes. Over the years the volume of “street art” has exponentially grown. Why? Because our unspoken standard has communicated that it’s OK to spray paint things. 

We verbally say it’s not OK, but we communicate through our actions (or in this case, our inaction) that it’s OK. 

Standards always derive from action and inaction. 

This concept applies to leaders. We get our standards. Whatever message we communicate to our team through our repeated actions and inactions creates a standard. We are getting whatever that standard is. 

The kicker is that every day the standard exists, it feels more like home. It becomes culture. 

Want to increase performance? Start by examining what standards you are communicating through your actions and your inactions. Whatever you are communicating is what you are getting.

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on August 9, 2019

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