Posted on July 28, 2011

Things I’ve Learned…(and am still learning).

By Bob Coughlin, CEO Paycor

Quick Tip: “Positive Discontent” – why can’t we just be happy?

Paycor’s fiscal year begins July 1. As our new year begins, we hold meetings to review our progress on our initiatives. Part of the art and science of management is raising the bar on our performance, and it sometimes requires that we tell our people that we can do better. We grew 20% last year, yet there are so many things that we can improve upon. Any business that says otherwise is not being honest with itself.

I try to look at Positive Discontent as coaching, as opposed to flogging. The more efficiently we use all of our resources, the more successful we are going to be. We never have enough money to do all of the things we want to do. So, it’s our job to squeeze out better performance and rethink the status quo in all areas, even ones that are performing well. We need to believe in raising our standards, whether pure financial measurements or internal measurements. There are many tools for process improvement, but the urgency and desire of our people must raise the bar.

It’s my observation that urgency to improve does not happen when we are satisfied, so I need to throw a little discontent into the conversation. When talking with clients, ask them to talk about the areas of their business they can improve. While you can’t tackle everything at once, maybe some priorities will emerge. The coaching involves reasoning with our associates (or clients) because change will only happen if they believe in it.

Go to to find more tips from CEO, Bob Coughlin.