Exceed Your Personal Best

Many of you know the motto of the Olympics Citius, Altius, Fortius which is Latin for faster, higher, stronger. There were 25 world records broken in the London 2012 Olympics.  I find it amazing that at every Olympics, athletics are able to achieve improved results.   962 medals were awarded at the 2012 Summer Olympics.  85 out of 204 nations won at least one medal.  Some medals were for individual performance and some for team performance. Even if a World or Olympic record was not broken, each athlete had the opportunity to beat their “personal best”.  Who was not moved watching the emotional looks on the athlete’s faces when they heard their country’s national anthem and the pride when they walked in the parade of nations.

How do we translate the Olympic spirit to work in our companies?  How do we create pride in our company and in achieving personal accomplishments? How do we inspire our employees to strive to beat their personal best?
Continuous improvement is how this is translated in the business world. Continuous improvement is an ongoing effort to improve products, services or processes.  Continuous improvement can be an individual process for employees to push themselves to better their previous performance by continuously “setting their bar higher.”  Instead of dictating goals to your employees it is much more motivating to have your employees set their own goals based on their skills and abilities.  Here are a few tips:
  • Translate Company Goals – Effective managers are able to take the overall goals of the company and translate them into a “line of sight” for employees.  Employees have to understand how they can personally contribute to improving the results for their company.
  • Track Performance – Teach employees to set metrics to measure what success looks like in their job.  Compare performance based on goals set as well as the prior year, quarter, month, etc.
  • Participative Goal Setting – Encourage employees to set realistic, challenging but achievable goals.  If the bar is set too high it will cause frustration and low motivation.  Improvements are easier to achieve when they are attempted in small increments.
  • Plus/Delta Conversations – After every project conduct a “plus/delta” conversation.  Ask: What did we do on this project that was effective and that we want to duplicate in future projects and what do we want to change for the next time?
  • Celebrate Successes – It is not likely that gold, silver and bronze medals can be given at your organization like the Olympics but recognition can still be given through your regular rewards, recognition, and compensation programs.
Creating a climate of success and involvement for your employees will increase organizational commitment and improve retention with employees continuously trying to improve on their personal best.

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