Topics: Business

Trophy Day - It's What's Wrong With America

A friend of mine is a teacher at a high school in Los Angeles. Her principal announced that they had the largest graduating class ever last June with 652. It was a big deal because this was the high school’s fiftieth anniversary, so press releases were issued and everyone felt great.

The following week she found out that 120 of those 652 didn’t actually graduate, they didn’t get a G.E.D.; they were able to get something that essentially said they went to school during that time. The thinking is they didn’t want those 120 students to miss out on all the festivities.

My friend was and still is incredulous. This is a continuation of what I call the "new sports."

When I grew up in the sixties, you either won or lost a game. Simple. Now there are no winners or losers – "everyone’s a winner."

They don't keep score because they don't want to make a distinction between winners and losers. They get a trophy not because they deserve it, did anything special or won the game but – you showed up – BRAVO!

Don't notice that you didn't win the game. There are no consequences. There’s no problem that’s your fault. But its not just in sports...

The high school administrators say parents pressure them by saying, "My kid did the work, you have to pass them." Administrators give in because it is easier. But ignoring reality has a price; stupid kids who can’t compete in the world.

#1 doesn't mean anything when everyone gets the same thing. When people aren’t being rewarded, they aren’t going to do everything they can do succeed. Do you agree?

The only way for America to be competitive is to acknowledge there are winners and losers. You don't get rewarded for bad service. You have to do a better job with the people who come in your doors, call on your phone or click on your website.

You can’t use the economy as the reason you aren’t doing better. It would be like a quarterback missing a pass and telling the coach, "It’s the weather’s fault."

No, it still would be the quarterback who missed the pass. The skipped practices, the distractions, everything that influenced him taking his eyes off the ball contributed, but it was up to the quarterback to make the pass. Make sense?

Nothing has changed in the past five years about how you have to do your business. What has changed is we have been beaten back into a cave with fear; everything from the price of oil and credit to corn, wheat and milk is "rocketing" to new "all-time" levels.

We seem to feed on the rotten idea that something even worse is right around the corner.

That’s not what made America great and its not what we need to turn the tide on the economy. Are you getting your share?

If not, it is time for you to fight for what you do. But you don't get a trophy for showing up. You’re going to have to change. Only if your eyes are on your customers, are you going to be able to survive and thrive.

Unlike many kids out there, you won't get a trophy for showing up.

Are you willing to change to win? If not now, when?

Bob Phibbs is the Retail Doctor® an industry authority on customer service and sales, professional speaker. Phibbs has helped hundreds of businesses in every major industry, including hospitality, manufacturing, service, restaurant and retail. Find out more about how he can help you at

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Topics: Business

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