Given the recent awful business environment, companies hunkered down into survival mode, cutting expenses and waiting for business conditions to improve. Expectations were reduced to match reality. Now with the economy stabilizing and beginning to expand again business leaders will need to awaken their organization to its true potential in order to achieve maximum performance.
As the recovery takes hold your organization will start to do better simply because customers will start buying again. While this provides a much needed break from the angst of recession, it will hardly provide the motivation to excel. Instead challenge your organization to achieve its true potential and watch performance soar.
Think in terms of watching runners about to compete at a track meet. Is your organization in the starting blocks, ready to launch when the starter’s pistol fires? Or will you be a spectator in the stands watching your competitors win the race?
Setting Your Organization’s Thermostat
Your organization has a thermostat. The thermostat defines the performance expectations of the business and everyone who works in it. If performance drops below the threshold, heads will roll, bonuses will be reduced or eliminated and generally everyone will work harder to get performance back on track. On the other hand, if performance exceeds expectations, the organization will tend to slack off and take it easy which will prevent the business unit from achieving its full potential. Who sets the thermostat? The CEO/president/business owner, and in turn, the senior management team defines what is possible and drives the expectations of the rest of the organization.
Stop Being Satisfied with Incrementalism
Most organizations need to rethink the incremental way they manage expectations year over year. Managers are often satisfied with a 5-10% improvement because that might be the threshold that triggers bonuses and yet leaves a little something in the tank for next year. If a target is set too high, the manager might be punished for not achieving the target even though performance improved. The result? The organization leaves money on the table because it was capable of achieving more but did not do so.
Achieving What Seems Impossible is a Powerful Motivator
A sense of challenge and growth is the most powerful motivator for employees. When goals are set too low complacency sets in. Top performers leave the organization and you are left with mediocre performers who are primarily interested in maintaining the status quo. By raising expectations employees will be more engaged and results will improve; a true win/win situation.
Enabling Questions to Help Achieve True Potential
Enabling questions are those that help you achieve greater performance and get you closer to your true potential.
How can we dominate the market?
How can we turn customers into fans who rave about us?
What other needs do our customers have and how can we meet those needs?
How can we maximize profit and cash flow in good times and bad?
How can we have employees who love working here?
Raise the performance of your organization, your department and for yourself personally by defining your true potential, resetting your thermostat to increase results and challenging yourself and others to grow.