Doing just enough …

Good EnoughI just read a blog post by Seth D. Cohen “The cost of doing just enough“.

When I saw the title I mental picture in mind of a certain person. I struggle to get that person stepping up. And here comes a promise that may help.


I really am disappointed by that post it states the obvious and doesn’t address how to create the change of mind. A few days earlier John Stepper wrote about “the Influencer’s checklist“. Now that was much more practical. Thanks John.

Doing just enough is an attitude statement. It tells a story. It says something about not being engaged, not being in tune with the organisation, the team, the project, or the task. As a leader I have an obligation to understand “why”. This is my team and my project. Success doesn’t come by sitting on my hands. High performance teams don’t emerge if I don’t plant the seed, nurture it and get the environment right.

Doing just enough is a statement that something is wrong. It could be a personal thing, it could be a cultural things, it could be a change that doesn’t sit well, and it could be a change in the person itself. People grow and change. A job that is perfectly fine today may not be tomorrow. I, as a leader, need to understand. That’s the only way to decide what to do about.

My personal attitude towards that is

  • if it is a personal or private thing, provide the best support you can offer. Don’t probe for details, trust your gut when you know enough.
  • if it is a content issue (wrong project assignment), change that immediately (assuming you have multiple projects) and learn from that.
  • if it is a team issue, use your team management skills to understand it from all angles before you make a decision.
  • competency or skill? provide training, support, coaching or mentoring as appropriate
  • physical environment? That’s the hardest one. Some things can be changed quite easily, other fit one person but annoys the other.  Let the team decide what works for them. Allow people to change personal set ups within practical limits.
  • tool environment? Another hard one. In principal I’d say “tough”. This is our environment and that’s how we do things around here. In circumstances it’s possible to bend that rule and allow personalisation to a degree where information compatibility (eg same data format) is given. Integration comes before personal preferences.

What do you when confronted with that “doing just enough” attitude?

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