The Frustration of Being Average

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being average

The Frustration of Being Average

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Are you planning to excel in your career? Is being average the norm? By definition most people would fall into the average bracket.

It seems funny to me how controversial the subject of being average can be. I’ve had people unsubscribe and delete me from social media because they didn’t like a discussion about being average. It’s true.

Is it okay to be average? Certainly, but if my work was geared to just becoming average there wouldn’t really be much work to be done. My business depends on people who are working for something more.

Being Average?

When you consider the definition of average, you have to think about the middle. In manufacturing, if you build to spec, you are really building to the middle. In any service sector, most of your transactions are probably average.

This is a simple concept, because what falls below spec or is less than spec is poor quality, and once in a while if we stretch, we can go beyond average.

Most organizations are actually trying to hire for average. They look for what they define as “best fit.” Best fit is really about being average. Lousy work and you fall below, exceptional work and there isn’t enough room for you. At least, that is how things seem to shake out.

Frustration of Average

The argument for average is that we need certain levels achievement, but not so much achievement that you blow away the spec.

For most careers then, the goal of excelling in your work is counter intuitive. That is, unless there is room for advancement.

This is one of the cultural frustrations for the organization. It is what causes work in motion to slow down. It causes quality to be only about good enough, not about as good as it could be.

Sometimes we have to look beyond best fit. Yet, that is a risk that many choose not to take.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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