The simplest way I heard this expressed was “Take your best and make it your standard.”
So, when you achieve a record in your work and celebrate the one time result, you now know it can be done, next is how you can do it consistently and at scale.
Managements job is to push you to deliver beyond what you thought possible. Like a coach on a sports team.
When you set high goals, you need to change how things work and step outside your comfort zone. This is where you learn. You can always make small evolutionary changes, but the Gold is in the revolutionary and this only comes with hard goals.
In a previous group I worked in, we had a 24-week design process and were asked to do it in 12. When we looked at how the process was truly running, we realized that while 24 on paper, it was taking more like 30-40 + weeks. Had we been asked to reduce by 10% that would have been easy. However, when we finished we had reduced it to 15 days actual run time. We didn’t hit the high goal of 12 but we were a lot closer than 40 because we set a big goal.
I have seen this so many times with different groups what we thought was not possible was achieved again and again. We start to believe and continue to set ourselves hard goals.
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