It Can Pay to Be Picky
Picky people often get a bad rap. That’s because pervasive pickiness can slow down decision making, thwart progress, and cause tension among the different personalities on the team. But pickiness in and of itself can be a real asset at times and shouldn’t be discounted when you are responsible for delivering the best possible outcome. It can send a message to your team that average isn’t good enough and you are paying attention when it comes to key deliverables. For example, have you ever hired someone on the fly and then later wished you’d been more careful about finding the right someone instead? Great leaders learn how to be picky in the right situations and demand excellence when it matters most.
Here are some aspects of business management in which you’ll definitely want to be picky:
Goal setting. How often do you accept a goal at face value without really thinking about it? At MAP, we always coach our clients to scrutinize the goals they set because the better the goal, the better the outcome. For example, a good goal is a SMART one, as in Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound—and it’s impossible to define all these aspects of the goal without being somewhat picky, asking key, critical-thinking questions, and making sure the objective is really relevant to the greater goal, vision, or purpose. In a way, pickiness is part of an effective goal-setting process. It usually leads to goals that deliver results and have a stronger, more positive impact.
Hiring people. A 2012 CareerBuilder survey revealed that 41% of companies lost an estimated $25,000 due to a bad hire while 25% incurred a $50,000 loss. As outlined in MAP’s new book, The Disciplined Leader (June 2015), picking the right people and putting them in the right positions are some of your most vital responsibilities. To ensure you’re managing that process effectively, don’t rush to fill vacancies with just anyone. Take your time, get creative about how you source good employees, and be choosy even when you’re facing serious pressure to fill the void. The ideal person is out there—just believe and trust in the outcome you want to achieve.
Customer service. Companies that engage and excel in customer service build loyalty and get ahead of their competition—it’s a proven fact. That said, their success results from bulletproof customer service processes, which, once again, come from being picky. For example, when technology leaders regularly scrutinize the processes and procedures, this questioning often leads to things like short-to-no on-hold time, the service agents being able to access customer account information immediately, and, above all, an ability to consistently provide meaningful, real solutions. Another case in point: In the food and entertainment industries, it’s do or die when it comes to customer service standards for some businesses. Failing to be picky about how customers are treated throughout all the touch-points of the experience can be fatal. Great leaders—and today’s best companies—get that pickiness plays a key role in customer service, defining and ensuring excellence on a day-to-day, even minute-to-minute basis.
When has it paid for you to be “picky” as a business leader?