The Vicious Circle of Mediocrity

The Vicious Circle of Mediocrity

The root cause of many hiring issues stems from a fear of employees leaving. When it comes down to the true essentials many owners are actually afraid of their employees and the implications are particularly disturbing. Most business owners know, at some level, that they are poor at hiring and that they are better off holding on to what they have.

This leads them, in turn, to put up with mediocrity and this is one of the most critical issues in business today. It all starts with the owner’s distaste for hiring. The subliminal thought process in the head of the owner runs along the following lines: 

  • I know that I have poor hiring skills;
  • I know that the hiring effort will be time consuming;
  • I know that the hiring effort will be expensive;
  • When I hire somebody I am afraid they will be no better than the  person I am replacing.


The inner self-knowledge of the small business owner or executive’s inability to hire leads to a fear of employees leaving and this fear leads managers to take the line of least resistance and put up with mediocrity. They are afraid of getting rid of somebody because they know that then they’ll have to go out and invest valuable time, money and other resources trying to find someone who may turn out to be no better than the person being replaced.

This thinking happens a great deal at the subliminal level, and we call it "the fear of the unknown incompetent”.  As a result small businesses are very poor at firing people. They put up with abuses that they should not put up with and fail to hold their employees accountable because they are worried that the employees will turn around, quit and leave the company in the lurch.

The whole dynamic of what goes on in a company can be changed if employees are held accountable. It is much easier to hold employees accountable if you know that you can replace them, and this becomes much easier if you have a reliable process that you use for hiring that improves your batting average.

Success for most businesses in the new economy will rely upon developing better systems and on having the best employees for the price in the best position. This revolves around improving or replacing employees, and it is extraordinary how little real effort business owners put into the critical hiring dynamic.

Edge can help you or you can develop your own system using the information contained in The Edge Hiring Process. Implement the process and you will improve the “batting average” in hiring while at the same time removing the CEO from all but the most essential parts of the process. 

The Four Critical Steps to Hiring

  • Establish the Profile

    Make sure that you know what talent you are trying to hire. Start from scratch and take time to define the job rather than rushing and simply rehiring the person that you are replacing.    

    The Time Edge



  • Develop the Process

    Successful hiring depends on having real choices. Write advertisements that will attract a large pool of candidates and have a process so that heavy response levels don’t stretch your resources    .

    The Time Edge

  • Grade Candidates

    You can’t afford to rush the selection process. You need to have an effective screening process and evaluate candidate skills carefully in relation to the job profile you established.

    Edge Business Essentials

  • Evaluate and Execute

    It is essential to have a robust interviewing process. You need to have candidates interviewed thoroughly and then check references and do background checks.

    The Alternative Board