Nobody`s perfect. True. But that should never stop anyone from trying to achieve it. What is perfection anyway? If you treat the concept “perfection” as an objective idea rather than intrinsic or subjective one you might well achieve it. What I mean is perfection presupposes the question “perfect for what”. In other words, it depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Is the screwdriver perfect for the job of tightening or loosening a screw? Yes it is. Is a hammer perfect for a nail? Yes it is. Yet the screwdriver or the hammer are not perfect for every job.
In your workforce you will find different people with different skills. Some will be better at certain tasks than others, and others will occasionally be perfect for a given task. All of these people need to have goals and direction and the proper encouragement. Defining proper goals and incentives is critical to the success of your company. So, what kind of goals and incentives do you define?
If you send your kid to the store to buy 3 items, say 1 pint of milk, a loaf of bread and a pound of grapes. If your child comes back with these 3 items, wouldn`t you say he has delivered exactly what you wanted? Would that not constitute a perfect delivery of your expectations? Yes it would if that is all you expected.
Say you asked your kid to come straight home after he bought the items, you also asked him to bring back the change, and you asked him to pleasantly accept to do this errand for you. But he dragged himself home an hour later without any change left, i.e. an imperfect outcome.
Leading people effectively means setting clear goals. It also requires you to set clear expectations by identifying the quality, the quantity and the spirit in which you want the goals achieved. It is also very important to reward accordingly to encourage people to continue to do great work i.e. incentives. Don’t be afraid to ask your employees what they want as rewards – don’t guess. Giving undesired rewards/gifts can be as bad as not being recognized. Start the recognition process by asking your employees what they desire as rewards.
If you evaluate your employees on a regular basis and if you employ some kind of grading scale do you ever score someone with the highest grade for a particular goal? Too many managers are afraid to score a perfect score on a given goal/task. This only serves to stunt the growth of their workforce. What is the message it is sending to the people who want to achieve the best possible result?
The message is this: “My boss sets goals that he wants me to achieve but believes impossible to achieve by anyone.” Another way of putting this : “My boss makes unreasonable demands.”
Soon no one even tries to achieve that lofty goal and they settle for the average or the “meet expectations”. So next time you are setting goals and incentives, set them high, make your goals “stretch” your people, but make them attainable: make them aim high and please don`t be afraid to appraise someone with the perfect score.