Grade ExpectationsPosted: June 28, 2012
I’m a big believer in setting specific goals. I believe the universe provides, but we have to do the math. Every day I see miracles – real miracles – happen in response to this specificity. But sometimes we miss the goal and lose energy in the ensuing disappointment and self-doubt.
If the truth that you’re going to hit some goals and miss others puts you in a tailspin, set your sights on a range of possible outcomes instead of a single Pass/Fail finish line. It’s a more realistic way of viewing the future, over which we have only partial control. For example:
We will hit $1 million in sales this year. (You hit this, you’re heroes! You miss the mark, and you’re failures. Pretty harsh.)
A = $1 million (Client Greg Shelton, of Clickfarm Interactive, calls this the Hats & Horns Number!)
B = $900k (you get to reinvest in your business or bonus out a bit)
C = $850k (the We-Stay-in-Business Breakeven Number)
D = $700k (someone better have a good cash reserve account)
E = $500k (since it’s my blog, and I don’t like the word Failure, I’m calling this last level the Eek Grade. For this example, the Employees-and-Children-First Number.)
This grading system works well for setting employee expectations and rewarding their performance too: C-level work is the baseline required to keep their job, B-level work warrants at least a spot bonus, and an A earns a spot bonus for a supersonic hit or a raise for a new level of sustained impact. D-level work warrants a reform program to make the better grade. E-level says the employee will perform better Elsewhere in your company or another’s.
Homework: Apply Grade Expectations to at least one of your goals.