I’m old enough to remember when all college bowl games held some relevance. All the major bowl games played a part in determining the National Championship. Way back when, the champion wasn’t necessarily decided on the field, but rather by the polls; one decided by the football writers, the other voted by the football coaches. While this wasn’t always the best way to determine the best team of the year, it was the system for decades. Some teams tried to make a statement at the end of the year as an attempt to persuade an undecided voter. Other teams played as a reward for having a good season, even if they weren’t in the National Championship hunt.
The Rose, Cotton, Orange and Fiesta Bowls were always the big ones and pitted conference champions against each other. These games were all relevant.
As I’m writing this, I’m watching the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on television. Talk about irrelevance. 6-6 Maryland vs 6-6 Virginia Tech. No offense to Terps or Hokie fans, but let’s admit this is a bowl game with mediocre teams. And it’s not the only one. I’ve seen several bowls this season that pit teams with 500 records against each other. While I admit to being a college football addict, even I have a hard time watching games that have absolutely no relevance other than how much swag the teams get from the title sponsors. I don’t think mediocre performance during the season should be rewarded with a bowl appearance.
Rewarding mediocrity creates entitlement. Entitlement can destroy an organization whether it be a football team, a nation or a car wash. If we reward mediocrity, where’s the incentive to improve? If someone can just “skate by” and get rewarded for it, why would they (or others) bust their butt? I guess you can tell, I’m not a fan of the “everyone gets a trophy” philosophy.
I know some great organizations out there that recognize exemplary effort and they reward their employees well. These companies are in rapid growth mode. I’ve also seen some companies who will settle for less than stellar results yet reward the employees as if they had achieved more. In my opinion, that’s a recipe for disaster. As I mentioned earlier, rewarding mediocrity creates entitlement and entitlement creates complacency. If barely good enough is good enough, then you’ll reap what you sow. The groups I have seen settle for less are stagnate and struggling in what has become a very competitive market.
I understand that hiring today is more than difficult, but if you plan to grow, you have to set your standards very high and never deviate from them. Reward your top performers, laud their achievements, but don’t reward those who you feel are giving anything less than their best effort.
Going back to college football, the Heisman Trophy is given out each year to the best player in the nation, not the most average. If you want to be the best and remain relevant in an increasingly crowded field, your employees are what will set you apart.
Set the standards, train them up, coach them up, and reward their successes. Have incentive plans that are easily understood and give them access to their progress towards the goals. The cream will rise to the top and, hopefully, the best players will inspire your less than stellar ones to improve.
Just in case you’re wondering, Maryland beat Virginia Tech 54-10. I’m hopeful that only Maryland took home a trophy.
I wish you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year, all the best!
Bob Fox is the VP of CarWash College and Technical Support at Sonny’s The CarWash Factory and has over 35 years of experience in the car wash industry.
Bob can be reached at [email protected]