This posting will finish off the question of when is good, good enough (at least for now). In the two previous posts we talked about setting the bar based on totality of circumstances and about bar height and decision making. This time we will explore the issue of bar height further.
In any organization or training program there are standards of performance that set the minimum height of the bar. In order to work for that company or to pass the program one must achieve that level of performance. The goal of course is to not only continue to raise the bar for ourselves but also to find ways to encourage people to continually set their bar far higher. As each of us achieves the new level of performance we once again raise the bar as a goal to work towards. This continual raising of the bar is what we have referred to as the pursuit of personal excellence; the commitment to be the best that we can be as well as the commitment to always be better tomorrow than we are today.
It is important however, to take a step away from the personal attachment to the issue and consider about the reality of this. In your workplace and your life do you seek continual improvement in ALL areas, or do you focus on those where your passions, strengths and talents lie? In an academic environment do most people excel in ALL subject or mainly those that they are passionate about and where they possess strengths and talents. Do professors teach ALL subjects or do they specialize? In law enforcement do trainers teach and excel at ALL subjects or do they focus on those areas they are passionate about? How many specialize in those areas where their strengths and talents lie?
If you were to poll most instructors in a training program they would tell you that they believe their area of instruction is the most important. Yes, they concede the need for the other areas and acknowledge they are important, just not the most important. Each is emotionally invested in their area of instruction and as a result set the bar based on that investment. Are all the instructors in a program equally gifted and competent in ALL areas, or have they migrated to an area of strength for them?
The reason this discussion is so important is that each of us not only sets the bar for ourselves, but also set the bar for others based on our strengths, talents and interests. When others do not clear our bar how do we view them? Do we seek to find out what their strengths and talents are or do we view them as under achievers? Do we consider that in our area of expertise what we perceive as good or mediocre performance may be another person’s absolute best? If we step outside of our area of expertise do we keep the bar the same height for ourselves, or do we allow ourselves to lower the bar because it is not our area of strength? We might still work very hard in that area but have a different expectation of performance outcome.
Is the bar then, reflective of effort or achievement? The answer to this question may result where we set the height of the bar.
The object of this discussion is not to provide answers but to pose questions that may guide each of us to our own answers. Answers that may vary from situation to situation.
This weeks challenge: Reflect on the original question of “When is good, good enough?” and based on the discussions in the last three blog postings come up with your own answer. If you want to share thoughts, ideas or insights just comment or send me an e-mail.