Should a professional tolerate mediocrity?

The answer may be yes or no. Yes, because we sometimes have no choice. And no, because mediocrity always lowers the high standards the company is trying to develop and sustain.

03/01/1998


The answer may be yes or no. Yes, because we sometimes have no choice. And no, because mediocrity always lowers the high standards the company is trying to develop and sustain.

So how should a pro deal with Mary Mediocrity and Joe Marginal? It hinges on the job they hold, their effect on departmental performance, and their influence on the rest of the staff. It also depends on how you define mediocrity. Let's say it breaks down into three classes: A -- average, B -- slightly below average, and C -- well below average.

The C guy is easiest to dispose of. The faster you get rid of him, the better for everyone. Permitting a C producer to remain will undermine the initiative of your good people, promote inefficiency and turnover, and inevitably lower departmental standards.

What about the A guy who's average, and his B compatriot who's a tad below average? There are no hard and fast rules, as Project Leader Ben Walden learned the hard way.

Evaluating his group while planning job assignments, he wrestled with the problem of two engineers in particular. One, a key engineer rated A, we'll call Harry; the other, John, rated B, held a more mundane job.

Harry's performance was steady, but uninspiring; John's was a notch or two below Harry's. Uncertain how to deal with them, whether to change their jobs, or let them go altogether, Walden wisely decided to seek his boss' advice.

Question : If you were Walden's boss, what counsel would you give him?

Cole's response: "The way I see it," Plant Engineer George Cole replied, "the old adage of the rotten apple spoiling the barrel seems to apply here. It's more important to deal with Harry at this point. Since John's work is routine, his influence on coworkers is minimal. It might be worth your effort to bring his performance up a notch.

"Harry is another kettle of fish. A key man in the group, his impact on others is significant. In Harry's job, mediocrity is unacceptable. A key employee should be a star. If you can't turn him into one in a hurry, I suggest a transfer out of the group, or let him go."





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Bring focus to PLC programming: 5 things to avoid in putting your system together; Managing the DCS upgrade; PLM upgrade: a step-by-step approach
Balancing the bagging triangle; PID tuning improves process efficiency; Standardizing control room HMIs
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.