Category Archives: Recognition


I saw an article in a local newspaper today, and as usual it got me to thinking. The article was about a high school that would not allow its National Honor Society members to wear their honor society sashes during their graduation commencement ceremonies. The school district decided that it did not want those graduating students who were not part of the honor society to feel excluded or lessened for not having been an honor society member.

Think about that for a moment.

Kids that excelled were not allowed to be recognized for excelling because of the way it might make those that did not excel feel.

Now I am sure that there are many twists and turns in this story that we have not been a part too. It is my understanding that the National Honor Society is viewed in some schools as more of a “club” due to its non-school requirements and activities. Even so, if only part of this story is true, what would happen in business if business was forced to behave in such a manner with those who excel?

Now before I delve too deeply into this topic from a business point of view, there probably are a few things that we need to remember. I think it is best for us all to remember that each and every business only wants the best, the brightest, the most gifted on their team. They have all implemented interview and selection criteria to make sure that no average person darkens their halls. They spare no expense in their never ending hunt for only the best talent.

Once each business has assembled their own veritable “Avengers” (the first one, where they save the world, not the second one where I’m not sure what they actually did…) slate of employees, they then require that each manager force fit them into a bell shaped distribution curve for their individual performance so that individual ratings and raises can be allocated appropriately.

Wait a minute. In some strange way that actually does sound a little like the high school in question.

Let’s get back to the topic and talk about recognition in business for a little bit. It is, or at least should be an integral part of any employee compensation or retention program. The problem is: How do you recognize those that have excelled without potentially demoralizing or alienating those that may not have done as well. I think that this can be an interesting question on several levels.

The first level is to make sure it is an organizationally acceptable practice to publically recognize individuals. All cultures have a tendency to impose their view of things on the world. I think in the US we are somewhat competitive, understand and accept the concept of individual recognition in a team oriented organization. There are other countries with similar views of things, as well as some that tend to take a little more “team” view of things as opposed to individual performance. Many of us look at it as a reason to work and strive that much harder in order to reap those individual gains.

This is particularly prevalent in many of the sales organizations. Sales incentives, sales rewards, sales trips and recognition are all part of the package. Many sales people, in addition to the compensation, see the opportunity to be recognized for excelling in front of their peers as one of the primary driving incentives for their work.

For the most part, this is how sales recognition works. There is a focus on achievement and those that excelled. There is minimal concern about the feelings of those that did not. All sales people are at the sales meetings. They all know if they achieved or not. If they did not attain the required threshold they had no expectation of being recognized in front of their peers. Their expectations were set long before the recognition was provided.

The advantage of sales in this sort of situation is that it is a very quantitative objective. You get the numbers or you don’t. If you get them, wear a nice suit when you walk on stage in front of your peers. If you don’t, try to sit toward the back in audience and remember it is bad form to make snide comments about those on stage.

However, that may not be the case in other locations or business disciplines. How do you recognize the best accountant? I mean really, how do you recognize them? Do they add their numbers that much better? This is where the recognition ideal starts to run into trouble. Just like the Russian judge in the ice skating competition that seems to have preordained the winners regardless of their performance, when you introduce a human factor or “judgment” into the recognition algorithm you open it up for perceived issues and abuse.

When a recognition program moves away from a quantitative approach to valuation, it begins to move away from rewarding for what is actually getting done and starts to enter the realm of rewarding for how things are getting done. How things are said becomes more important than the content that is contained in the communication.

There is in essence now a question of who gets to go up on stage in front of their peers. Some accountants may feel slighted because they actually added more numbers correctly than the accountant that was selected to be recognized. Others may feel slighted because they were associated with subtraction functions and everybody knows that only the addition guys get all the recognition.

It is in an instance such as this that a recognition program can in fact become a disincentive to those that are not recognized. If there is something other than a pure performance based criteria there will always be the suspicion that the Russian judge had preselected the winner.

Another issue associated with recognition can be culture. In some cultures individuals like to be recognized for the contribution, but they may not want to be recognized publically in front of their peers for their contributions. Some cultures prefer a more individual based one-on-one recognition. A direct word from the leader or a personalized congratulatory note on a job well done can be preferred to taking a bow in front of one’s peers.

This again is a good way to avoid the perceived snub or demoralizing effect associated with those not receiving the recognition. A simple acknowledgement or a small token of appreciation from the business leadership without all the pomp and circumstance (that’s a high school graduation reference in case you missed it) can readily serve as way to recognize those that have excelled.

It’s no secret that recognition is an important aspect of business and team morale and satisfaction. If there are going to be public recognition programs they need to be as quantitative in nature as possible. If all participants are aware of the recognition criteria thresholds, then there usually cannot be any issues generated by those that are not recognized.

Regardless of how unbiased or expert management may feel it is, when any sort of “judgment” is injected into the recognition process there will be a segment of the business or team that will feel someone else may have been unfairly selected. This can result in a set of responses and behaviors that are contrary to the desired culture of inciting achievement.

In looking at recognition based rewards for those disciplines where it is possible to implement quantitative thresholds, a public recognition programs as part of the rewards function could be preferable. Everybody knows how they have done with respect to their objectives and there should be no hard feelings for those that know they did not perform as well as others.

For those disciplines where it may be difficult to solely gage performance quantitatively, it may be preferable to look at more individual based methods of recognition. Those that are selected for recognition can receive it directly and those that are not will not feel excluded or lessened for not receiving similar recognition.

Very much like the high school students at the graduation ceremony who won’t be feeling bad because there will not be the public differentiation between them and the National Honor Society graduates who were not allowed to wear their honor society sashes with their cap and gowns at the graduation ceremony.

Good Job

I have written in the past about the need to say “Thank You”. In our roles we are all dependent to some extent on others and our teams for our success and it seems too many times we neglect to recognize that fact and thank those that have helped achieve success. I have also written about the need when thanked to say “You’re Welcome”. Too many times we have the tendency to respond with some sort of less meaningful phrase such as “sure” or “no problem” or some other similar value reducing terminology. Doing this devalues the exchange to the point where we soon begin to wonder why no one has said thank you to us anymore. At the risk of sounding like some sort of overzealous disciple of Miss Manners I am going to stay somewhat in this vein and discuss the needs and benefits of letting people know when they have done a “Good Job”.

We like to think that we all live and work in one of those here to fore highly desirable risk and return environments. I really don’t think this is truly the case. We have all come to expect a supremely high level of performance and competency in all that we do. It is when expectations of performance reach these levels that in reality there is very little return available. When you expect perfection and receive perfection you are merely satisfied, not delighted. When that situation occurs all that remains in the expectation equation is the risk. I’ll illustrate with a couple of simple examples:

I have had a car for the last couple of years and it has been absolutely problem free. All I need to do is put gas in it, and occasionally bring it in for an oil change or service as is indicated and was expected when I bought it. It has run flawlessly and I am very happy with it.

Despite this near perfect performance, I have not bothered to call the dealership, or manufacturer for that matter, to tell them how much I appreciate their effort in producing such a fine car. It is in reality what I expected.

On the other hand however, should I go out to my car at the end of the day today and unexpectedly find that it will not start, or now requires towing and service and whatever else in order to return it to its previous performance level, there is probably a very good chance that I will make both of those calls to the dealership and the manufacturer to let them know of my relatively low level of contentment with their product and question them rather vociferously about their plans to rectify the situation.

On a similar and yet much broader example, I think the majority of us now get our internet / television / phone service delivered to our homes via some sort of communication service provider. For the most part these capabilities are also delivered at a very high level as well. And for the most part we have all come to expect, and possibly even depend on this level of service.

However, should we lose our internet connection capability while one of our children is in the midst of doing their last minute research for their assignment that is due the following morning, or heaven forbid we lose the video signal during one of our favorite television shows or during the big game, I suspect that there will be several calls into that provider both voicing displeasure and asking when the service will be restored.

Like I just said. There does not seem to be any further reward available for expected flawless performance, only the risk of disappointment and unhappiness when it is not achieved.

I think the same sort of approach has evolved in the business world. We bring people on and build teams expecting them to operate and perform at very high levels of competence and efficiency. This is obviously a given. If we didn’t think that the people could operate at very high levels of competency and performance we wouldn’t have selected them in the first place.

It is only when they occasionally don’t operate at these high levels of expected performance, or fail to achieve one of several stretch objectives that managers engage and provide immediate feedback, and when they do it is normally in the form of negative feedback. It’s sort of like the employee being the cable company when the cable goes out in the middle of the big game. They hear about it.

It doesn’t matter that the employee or the team may have been performing superbly for significant stretches before the issue. It doesn’t matter if the objective was reasonable or even achievable. Because we have continued to evolve ever higher levels of performance expectations, we are in fact little by little removing the “return” portion of the risk / return equation. There is no longer a return for performing well, only a risk for having an issue.

This approach can evolve businesses into a de facto negative reinforcement management style and structure. Instead of people striving to improve or do better, they in fact begin to work at avoiding the negative feedback.

On the surface this may sound like two sides of the same coin: striving to achieve and working to avoid failure, but in reality they are not. If there is no reward of any kind, including the simplest recognition, then there is no incentive for improvement or advancement. Avoiding failure means the incentive is just to perfect the status quo. The result is that you are not really trying to make things better; your effort is going into avoiding making them any worse.

I have worked in organizations where negative feedback avoidance as opposed to positive feedback incentives was the cultural norm. I believe that there are some structures where this approach may in fact prove appropriate, particularly in those areas where the “collective” aspect of the performance is more important than the individual’s.

I remember working for an Asian based company that had this negative feedback, more collective approach to things. The organization’s management viewed their value add to the business structure as their ability to focus on those objectives that weren’t achieved and goals that were not met. It was an eye opening experience.

During my first annual review, after a reasonably successful year, I was met with the following statement (and I am paraphrasing, but also very close to the actual statement):

“It seems that you have met all your goals for this year, but all in all, we actually expected better performance from you.”

I wish I had made that up, but I didn’t.

The fact remains that while there may not be a full balance in the risk and return equation for business performance, there at least needs to be some sort or recognized return. To put it a little simpler there needs to be some sort of carrot to offset the stick approach to management. I think the carrot starts with the simple acknowledgement that someone has met our expectations. In essence letting them know when they have done a “Good Job”.

It doesn’t need to be said all the time. I don’t think that any of us has a desire to have praise lavished upon us all the time. That would devalues the effect. However on occasion acknowledging the effort, which even though was expected or even defined and required in the job description or position profile, can go very far in maintaining a level of commitment to continuing to move the business forward.

Without this sort of positive reinforcement it is all too easy for a business to fall into the trap of not trying to move things forward and doing things the best way, but only trying to avoid the negative feedback associated while maintaining a performance that meets the current level. Performance measurement is no longer associated with who performs the best; it is now focused on who makes the fewest mistakes.

The problem is that the only person who makes no mistakes in business is the one who doesn’t do anything.

I am not proposing that providing compliments will correct all business issues. What I am saying is that occasionally recognizing those people that are performing at the expected high levels of achievement with the acknowledgement of “Good Job” will likely keep them more engaged and more likely to deliver the desired good job in the future.

…and no, “Not a Bad Job” is not an acceptable alternative acknowledgement.

You Don’t Know

Over time I have learned that I don’t know everything. I am going to pause for a minute here for several reasons. The first is for effect. The second is so that I can let the hysterical laughing and rampant applause in general die down. The third is so that I can go and pick my wife up off the floor. I believe that she was so convinced that I did in fact know everything that my admission that I didn’t has created such a shock to her system that she fainted. That must be it. I am sure of it. It is one of those things that I do know. Doesn’t every wife believe in the infallibility of their husband?

At least that is the interpretation of her response that I am choosing to believe.

The next thing you know I will be asking for directions when I am lost, or reading the instructions on how to put something together before I actually start to do it.


Now remember I said I didn’t know everything. I didn’t say that I didn’t know anything. (My wife is now looking at me out of the corner of her eyes again. This time I am not sure how to interpret her behavior.) I would like to hope that after all the experience that I have gotten (Randy Pausch, the author of “The Last Lecture” said “Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you wanted”, and there are so many things that I have wanted and not gotten that I could conceivably be considered one of the most experienced people around) and all the book learning that I have done in college and elsewhere, has enabled me to know a few things.

One of the things that I do know is that there is more information out there about every business topic, business issue and business opportunity than can ever taken into consideration when a decision is to be made an action taken. I didn’t let this fact stop me. I openly suggest that you don’t let it even slow you down. I do think that you need to be aware of it, and prepare for that rarest of rare days when one of your assumptions, decisions or actions turn out to be the wrong one. There is also one other thing that you need to be aware of when making decisions or taking actions in business.

Everyone is fighting a battle that you don’t know about.

I saw this line on a LinkedIn splash page of all places. Like so many other seemingly non-business related comments or topics, this got me to thinking about business, sales and how to lead.

I have stated in the past that business is all about the person to person interactions between people. All too often we have our decision made and our actions decided. All that is left is to align everyone else with our obviously well thought out and logical approach to things. It should be easy. We are already on to the next topic in our minds. Only the people who should see the obvious wisdom of our leadership, don’t seem to be catching on as quickly as we would like or expect. They seem to have their own views as to what should be done.

It’s hard to have a broad view of things in business when you don’t have a broad responsibility. You have to think in terms that are larger than the topics and areas that you can affect. Not everyone does this. That is an understatement. Very few people seem to do this. You have to understand something about the battles that other people are fighting. You have to do this while understanding and fighting the battles that are your own. It takes extra effort.

You have to understand the issues that external competitors are visiting upon sales opportunities as well as the unknown / political issues that the customers themselves are bringing to bear when arguing pricing or deal desirability with the sales team. Having been there, it should be understandable why so many sales teams seem to get more frustrated with their own companies than their competitors, when they focus solely on one internal metric instead of the broader customer requirement.

Conversely, the same can be said about the sales team that only looks at the sales volume and does not take the time to understand the company’s cash flow or profitability issues when they bring a customer opportunity to the table. Orders are always good, but it is the answers to the questions such as if and when the company will get paid that will keep the company in business. It may be hard to understand or even believe, but there is actually some business out there that is not worth having. The key is to be able to identify and differentiate it from the other more desirable types of business.

The point that I am so clumsily trying to make here is that we all are going to encounter resistance in the normal course of the execution of our business responsibilities. How we deal with that resistance will have a great deal of impact on how we are to be perceived as leaders. We all have a tendency to only examine issues from our own specific perspective or point of view. The leader will try to understand the larger issues, even if they are not responsible for them. The leader will try to understand what the unknown battle is that the other person is fighting.

The question that then arises is how does the leader know what they don’t know?

Despite the very Zen sound of this question, it is somewhat the basis of leadership. It is not enough to know that someone is providing resistance to a desired course of action. It is more so knowing why they are providing resistance and how to resolve, reduce or avoid it altogether.

Fortunately, there are few people who are so contrary in nature as to oppose our every idea solely on the basis of who made it. Those that do behave this way are normally referred to as “spouses”, and again fortunately, most of us do not work in business with our spouses.

What that means is that in general, there will probably be either a known or unknown battle that people are fighting that will be a cause for any perceived resistance to your plans and activities. Understanding what the external pressures and unknown battles are will enable the business leader to position their requirements in such a way as to avoid the conflicts associated with these unknown battles.

It’s not enough for the leader to say what they don’t know. They have to understand why they don’t know. Continue reading You Don’t Know

Facilities and Information Technologies

In the past I have looked at several different disciplines within the business organization. Sales, Marketing, Finance, Research and Development and even Human Resources all have their roles and responsibilities in the organization. There are a couple of key support organizations that should also be examined; Facilities and Information Technologies (IT), and unless you want to have an office in an abandoned warehouse and communicate via semaphore (that’s the waving of flags to pass messages between ships) or smoke signals, you need to be aware of and know how to work with them.

The facilities group is a reasonably simple group to identify and locate in the business environment. Simply find the second nicest offices in the building. Chances are these will be the facilities group.

Why the second nicest? Very simple. Facilities is normally wise enough to understand that the senior corporate executives will expect to have the nicest offices in the building. They will want the biggest offices on the highest floor with the best views out the windows. If someone else has them, the executives will want them. This will cause unrest and unhappiness. It is best just to give executives what they want. Everybody knows this, including the Facilities group.

And who will be the ones to give the executives the offices that they want? Correct, it will be Facilities. They are the group that is in charge of all the buildings and all the stuff that goes in all the buildings. Once they have decided who gets the very best offices – the executives – they then get to decide who gets the second best offices. The only people who can over-rule Facilities decisions regarding who gets what office are the executives, and since chances are that the executives are all content and placated in their offices Facilities pretty much at this point has carte blanche to decide who gets what.

With this kind of power with respect to office allocation it is only logical that they should place themselves only slightly below the corporate executives in the office pecking order.

Also expect Facilities to place their offices as far away from the corporate executives as is possible. They usually do this in order to minimize the opportunity or even the chance that a corporate executive may actually wander over to their area just to make sure that they do in fact have the second best offices in the building and not the actual best offices in the building. This will mean if the executives are on the top floor, facilities will be in the basement. If the executives are on the east end of the building, facilities will be on the west, and so on.

Why is all this important you may ask? Remember on average you will be asked to move your office location every one to two years. Also remember to take advice like this with a grain of salt as it is also estimated that 76.43% percent of all statistics are made up on the spot. I however have found this to be a reasonably accurate estimate on the number of times I have moved my office in my career.

With that in mind, it may be a good idea to identify who the Facilities representatives are within your organization and to foster a relationship with them. This relationship will be good for you in that it may help you and your team when it comes time for you to move, and it can be good for Facilities as they want to build relationships with both the current and future leaders of the organization.

The next group to be aware of is the Information Technologies team. No one is ever really sure where their offices are. Their offices are normally in a part of the building that is cordoned off from the rest of the mere mortals in the organization, usually behind a security door or special access badge reader of some sort. This is usually claimed to be done in the name of making sure the communications infrastructure of the organization is kept safe from terrorists and other employees of the business, but one can never really be sure.

I have walked by these doors on several occasions and thought I have heard the sound laughter and music, but as these doors also appear to be somewhat sound proofed I was never quite sure so I have written it off to an over active imagination.

The Information Technology team members are also easily recognizable by the number, quality, complexity and sophistication of the electronic gadgets that they have in their possession. The Information Technology team members are usually the people with the coolest mobile phones, with the latest time saving applications on them, and the ability to have you stricken from every corporate directory with but a single call or key stroke. Now that is power.

For those of you that are wondering, IT are the people that are responsible for your phone and computer networks. If you want to have a quiet day in the office just go and insult the IT leader in your area. It will be surprising how seldom your phone will ring, or dial tone will be present when you go to make a call.

If you want to reduce the number of emails that you have to deal with, just send an email to management which is critical of the IT team’s performance. You will also find that when your email is not working and you call the toll free hotline for immediate technical support that they will direct you to the website where they will ask you to send them an email detailing the issues that you are having with your email.

There is currently a détente between most Facilities groups and most IT teams in that Facilities is responsible for enabling IT to have office space behind closed and locked doors where goodness knows what goes on, and IT is responsible for making it impossible for all but the very most senior executives to ever establish real time contact in the form of a phone call with anyone from the Facilities group. If this relationship were found in nature it would be called social symbiosis.

The reason that I bring IT into the discussion about the Facilities group is that every time you move your office you also have to reestablish all of your network connections so that you can get email on your computer and that your phone will ring when someone calls you at your new office. If you move every one to two years on average, that can turn out to be a significant amount of time spent with the Facilities and Information Technologies groups.

Without exception I have found the professionals associated with the Facilities and IT groups to be some of the most helpful individuals in any company I have been in, I have also found that it does not hurt to bring them “tribute” in the form of a written thank you for the effort that they have invariably expended on my behalf to make the vast majority of my office moves while not enjoyable, at least that much more tolerable.

Procrastination and C. Northcote Parkinson

I was sitting here thinking about what my next topic would be, but I kept putting off getting started. Maybe it was because I just didn’t feel the urgency of writing a new article yet. Some of the topics and articles seem to flow so easily that I begin to think that I might actually be getting the hang of this writing thing. Then others, like this one seem to require significant effort in order to perform their extraction and conversion into cogent thought. When that happens, I do the only logical thing. I procrastinate.

The fact that I was just sitting here trying to avoid writing something got me to thinking of the story of John Lennon when he was in the throes of writing the classic Beatles tune “Nowhere Man”: He said that he was “…lying there trying to write a song and was getting nowhere, man” and it hit him. The rest is musical genius and history. If I should ever be so fortunate as to possess one tenth the talent for writing that he had in his little finger, in my entire body I would count myself lucky. None the less it did give rise to my self examination of why I was having any sort of writers block.

Those of you that know me have often stated that usually I don’t know when to keep my mouth shut. You should be smiling at my difficulty at finding something, in this case the right thing to say.

What I did come up with is that C. Northcote Parkinson, the author of “Parkinson”s Law” was correct when he postulated:

         “Work expands to fill available time.”

The logical corollary, which I will modestly dub: “Gobeli’s Corollary” is:

“Procrastination reduces the perceived amount of work done by reducing available time for it to expand into.”

Think about it. I believe it explains a lot about who we are and why so many of the businesses, and for that matter so many of the political institutions that we have, operate the way they do. It is also probably at least partly responsible for the deadline mentality we seem to have evolved to. If you know that work will expand to fill all available time that it is given, the obvious solution to getting more work done is to provide a deadline that gives less time for each assignment to get done in.

I think we are also all familiar with the relationship between procrastination and “cramming”. We learned it early, probably in high school or college. Instead of spending a little time each day studying, we save it all for the last day or two before the exam. Why study every day when we can study really hard at the end and probably get the same result. We seem to have evolved this concept into our working structures now as well. We have even codified it as an accepted method of reducing the time required to compleat our projects. It’s called “Crashing”. We no longer work on our assignments ahead of time, or a little bit each day. Instead we wait till the deadline looms and then try to kick it directly into high gear.

We also see this type of work process with our current federal legislature. They are so good at procrastinating, and have recognized their own predilection for it, that they have had to create their own either artificial or real deadlines in order to get anything done. As a result we seem to be lurching from one crisis (read: deadline) to the next. This process does seem to keep the talking heads on the various news channels happy as they now have a continuous flow of issues to talk about, but is probably not the most efficient way to get things done.

I once worked a company where they had evolved a similar culture. They knew that they were excellent at managing in a crisis. The only problem was that they evolved to a point where everything had to be a crisis in order to get anything done. Being in a continual crisis mode does have a tendency to wear out the team. To think of it in sports terms, imagine a football team running their “Two Minute” offense for every play of every game for the entire season. It might work for a while, but the wear and tear on the team will eventually cause them to break down.

Gobeli’s Corollary would have us believe that by procrastinating, we would actually end up having to do less work. We seem to believe that doing two days of non-stop hard work is less work than doing an hour or so of less intense work across the term of a two week assignment. That logic just escapes me. For a culture that loves to multi-task while on conference calls, we seem to eschew the opportunity to multi-task on our longer term work assignments. Go figure.

I know I probably sound like a broken record (an interesting allusion since for all intents and purposes records are largely extinct and have been replaced by CDs and MP3s) but I am convinced that a lot of this crisis process is the result of our recognition and reward structures in business. Since we are largely working in “crisis” mode due to looming deadlines, we seek out those who can work well under this kind of pressure. I have referred to them in the past as fire fighters.

These are the “go to” staffs that are relied on to meet the deadline. They receive the recognition and rewards for being able to deliver in the clutch. It seems that those who practice “fire prevention” by taking steps ahead of time to complete their assignments in a non-crisis mode, do not garner as much management attention and perceived respect. The net result is that it doesn’t seem to pay to do the job efficiently and ahead of time. If you want to get noticed, you need a crisis.

And how do you get a crisis? You procrastinate.

So while Parkinson’s Law says that work expands to fill available time and Gobeli’s Corollary says that Procrastination reduces the perceived amount of work needed by reducing available time, there might also be a logical extension here regarding the relative rewards associated with “crisis work” as opposed to doing the same work in an orderly, non-crisis oriented manner. Perhaps the corollary should also incorporate an extended axiom:

“Work becomes more visible to and seems to be more valued by managers as proximity to the deadline grows”

That would play well with the observation that managers seem to recognize the contributions of fire fighters more so than the same contributions associated with those who perform the same work in non-crisis situations, and also explains why so many people seem to procrastinate in doing their assignments until they approach crisis proportions. It has been my experience that business leaders neither value the work of fire fighters more nor procrastinate to crisis levels. They get the work done on time because they know that they do not need to create crises of their own. There will be enough business issues for them to deal with.

Wow. And I got all this because I didn’t yet feel the urgency in having to come up with an article topic and getting written down. I suppose I should also say that I actually had two or three other articles already written, and though I was procrastinating there was probably a good reason why I wasn’t feeling the urgency to get this one done. I guess this early preparation thing can be a two edged sword.

On Time is Now Early

I have written several times about the changing standards for performance in the business environment. I personally believe in setting reasonable expectations for my own, and other peoples performance, and then monitoring progress to goal completion. Having been on both sides of the equation, I have found it is better to reasonably promise and then try to over deliver.


It seems in tough economic times corporate business has changed but the way we view, and review it may have not. It has become more and more difficult to attain, let alone exceed objectives in today’s business climate. As staff numbers are reduced, “reasonable” goals and expectations seem to remain only in the eye of the beholder. Goals and objectives that you were once able to exceed given the “then” staff and budget, are now difficult to attain with the “now” staff and budget.


Both management and staff need to be aware of this new status quo. Incentives, rewards, recognition, ratings and reviews need to be prepared to reflect the fact that there are now fewer resources trying to deliver more objectives. Attaining today’s goals in this environment may in fact be more difficult than exceeding yesterday’s goals in that environment. There are always cycles in business. How we manage and treat our teams in tough times will have a significant affect on how they view and treat the business when times improve.