As a manager, I have weekly reviews with each member of my team. We talk about three things each week: What has gone well (and how can we do more of that), what needs improvement (and how can we can improve faster), and what the general feeling is around how things are going in relation to personal goals and the rest of the team’s goals.
These are just a few simple questions, but they get right to the heart of what we try to focus on, and that is living our strengths, shoring up the weaknesses enough that they do not bring our strengths down, and exploring how we FEEL things are going.
During a recent weekly review, one of my folks said to me regarding the feeling of how things are going on the team, “Sometimes I feel like I’m doing more work than Fred. And it’s not fair. Fred should work harder. It’s not fair. Why don’t you make Fred work harder?”
Fair feelings. We have all been there. If Fred and I are on a team, should Fred not pull the same amount of weight as me?
As a manager, do I not expect that Fred, Sally, and Steve are going to produce 500 widgets a day, take 500 calls a day, or sell 500 shingles a day? NO! That is right, NO! We are each uniquely gifted with a special mix that is ours and ours alone.
Sure, I expect some of the basics to be the same for each person, but I do not expect everything to be the same for each person. Each person on my team started on a different day, has different collateral duties, and does not produce the same number every day.
However, in a month-over-month comparison, it always ends up with everyone having numbers that are pretty close. Often, as soon as they see they are producing more, they slow down a little and let everyone catch up. And that makes them look painfully average and in the mean with their stats. And as we all know, statistics do not tell the whole story for performance.
If you are one of those people who slows down as soon as you get a few steps ahead, I would like to offer you a better way. I offered this to my guy who was complaining about Fred: Play full out, and remember that you are your only competition.
If you are worried about how much Sally is doing every day, how much Fred is doing every day, why Tina gets to do x and Jimmy gets to do y, STOP RIGHT NOW.
Start by thinking about doing YOUR personal best, every single day. Play full out for a month. If you really are head and shoulders better, play full out for a month and really set yourself apart. See what your personal best can be.
The goal is to improve YOUR best numbers, every year, every month, every week, every day. You are your only competition, so start acting like it. Make today a better day, a greater day.
And if you keep at it for a full month, and you play as hard as you can, and compare yourself only to you, you will be amazed at how much YOU can do.