Whether you want to be an expert piano player – or dominate the piano sales market – you're going to hit a point where reaching your goal just seems impossible. Is it a temporary setback – what Seth Godin calls "the dip" – or should you actually quit? Here Godin talks about why quitting can make you a winner, the problem with mediocrity – and how to create a contract with yourself.
Profit: You go against the usual ideas of quitting – even going against Vince Lombardi's famous proclamation that winners never quit. Why should executives rethink quitting?
Seth Godin: Well, if quitting is a moral failure, then of course you shouldn't quit. But quitting is not a moral failure; it's a strategic decision. If we look at organizations that we think if as superstar - whether its Apple Computers or Google or Starbucks - they quit all the time. They don't quit their overall strategy, they don't quit their mission, but they quit their tactics. They understand that in a competitive world, in a world connected by the Internet, in a world where there are so many choices, only the best one, only the superstar, only the one that stands out is the one that gets picked.
Jack Welch set up an expectation inside GE that if you weren't number one or two in your division, he was going to shut you down. Once you understood that that was the outcome, you wouldn't go down any path that was likely to lead to that. His real win wasn't shutting down the divisions that were third or fourth, it was creating a culture where third and fourth divisions didn't get created in the first place. You are completely wasting your time and effort by coming up with third best but trying hard. That doesn't count for anything anymore.