On Standards: A Review

On Standards: A Review

By Craig Hysell


Are the STANDARDS you are measuring yourself or others against what you think they are?


A lot of people and a lot of systems hold us to a base level of quality otherwise known as a “standard”.


Likewise, WE can have a standard that we apply to others or to other things when looking at them. This affects our perception, our understanding and our ability to effectively operate.


See, a standard, (high or low) is only a worthwhile measurement tool if the “level of quality” is completely understood by all parties AND it is consistently applied in ANY environment by all who have agreed to abide by it.


Otherwise it’s not a standard, it’s an emotion; the level of quality is based on what you feel like doing at the moment.


A well-understood high standard consistently applied will trump emotion (what you FEEL like doing) every single time. When that happens, you, your team, your clients, your business become very, very powerful.


Here’s the catch: standards are simple, not easy.


Think about the following points below as a coach, head coach or gym owner (whatever your current main role is). Then read it again thinking about your application of your personal standards in your day to day life outside the gym. Then go through it one more time and, do something VERY powerful, read it from your client’s perspective.


Does everyone KNOW the standard? It does not matter how many times you SAY it or how many times it has been written down or how many times it has been talked about it, if people do not UNDERSTAND it, then they do not KNOW it. Be mindful of this. How can you share the message differently? WHY is the standard important? What happens INTRINSICALLY for the individual (or the Team) if the standard is upheld (i.e. why should anyone care and how does it affect them positively when applied?)


Is the standard upheld consistently AND upheld fairly with ALL no matter what? Once the standard is understood, do the same rules apply when you’re tired or having a “bad” day? Do the same rules apply to everyone who has agreed to enter the system in which you all are operating? What is allowed to “slide” and what is not? Because whatever is allowed to slide becomes your standard, not your words or what is written on paper so be mindful. Lastly, what happens when the standard is understood by all parties and ignored anyway?


Do YOU uphold the standard with YOUR actions? If you are the person who expects the standard to be upheld by all and yet you do not uphold it yourself, you’re the problem in a BIG way. Do not be the person who says, “Do what I say, not what I do” and expect to have respect or continuity amongst your peers once they find this out. Leaders must lead and actions mean so much more than words. Live what you preach and do not busy yourself with the need to be perfect;  admit where you’re vulnerable instead. It’s much easier on you AND makes you/your standard easier to follow.


Is the standard something all parties have agreed on? Do not expect the whole world to conform to YOUR world view. (If you want that to happen, this is called tyranny.) Do not expect everyone sharing the same system or viewpoint to automatically agree with or KNOW your standard either, and remember, you exist to serve: how we do that is different for each person. Perhaps that troublesome client would be better off in personal training than group classes or vice versa. Perhaps that frustrating person on the Team doesn’t understand what you think they ought to. To be understood first seek to understand. Listen first. Look at YOURSELF first. And ALWAYS listen way more than you speak.


Most high standards are utilized as a discipline. Most low standards are hung out as options and use words like “if” or phrase like “when I feel like it”.


Look inward at thyself and adjust accordingly, for the intrinsic stuff (our minds and our attitudes) is all we ever have true control over.


But that’s just me. What do you think?


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