Vietnam’s acceptance of mediocrity

by Rita Nguyen

One of the most frustrating things I find about shopping in Vietnam is that all the sales people continually tell you “it’s fine, it’s fine” while they’re imitating a bobblehead toy on an offroading expedition I’m sure everyone here has come across this. I ask for a size 6 shoe, they only have a size 5 but it’s fine. No green paint? Here’s some red. It’s fine. I get that they are just trying to make a sale but it’s irritating to be pushed to buy something I’m not looking for. Sometimes, it is fine despite the fact that it’s not what I asked for – living in a country like Vietnam, you just need to get zen about some of this stuff.

However, when it comes to work, it’s certainly not fine. The “it’s fine” excuse is used all time. The allowance of a half-assed job breeds a culture of mediocrity that is not okay. Everyone in the organization must understand what excellence looks like, how it can be achieved and their role in owning that.

Build a cult of excellence
Humans have a natural inclination to seek acceptance – no one wants to be the proverbial fat kid picked last. So ensure that everyone understands that when they are not delivering, they are not only letting themselves down, but their team mates as well.

Get rid of the deadweight
If everyone around you is an A player who delivers exceptional work, the mediocre ones are easy to pick out. Working at a huge company like EA, you can see B and C players hiding amongst the rock stars. In a start up, that’s a whole lot harder to do. In either cases though, leaders must take ownership of their team. Take the time to train and develop your people but don’t shy away from making tough decisions either. If you can’t break the it’s fine factor, you need to let them go before they infect others. Otherwise, you allow everyone to believe that excellence is optional, which is a slippery slope.