Salespeople have their quota or their sales target. That's how they get evaluated. If he reaches his quota for the day, he's a successful salesperson (at least for the day).
Companies have their growth targets — in terms of revenues and in terms of customer base.
Auditing firms in the Philippines (which will always hold a special place in my heart because I came from one) tend to focus on getting more clients to reach their revenue targets even at the expense of the quality of their work and their staff members' motivations (and health). That's why it's difficult for them (and for clients) to differentiate themselves aside from their pricing. (I love auditing firms, by the way. I just think there's a better way to do the work they do. It just requires a lot of sacrifice, especially from the people at the top.)
Targets are really useful in evaluating performance. Budgets are useful in keeping expenses in check. I won't argue with that.
But, when we're working only towards reaching our targets or meeting our budgets, it disengages us from the work and the service that we do. It dehumanizes us. It dehumanizes organizations. It dehumanizes the very work that we do. This world, where almost everything is operated by an organization, is becoming less and less human. We choose efficiency over our humanity.
Right now, employees quit their jobs left and right because they feel disengaged with their work. Partly, passion. Partly, motivation. But mostly, because they cannot find meaning from the work that they do — meaning that can only come from being truly human, from being emotional (in a good way), and from being loving.
Somehow, the more we climb the ladder, the more we deal with targets and budgets, the more we try to please our stockholders (who want more returns on their investments), and the more we become disengaged with our customers, our service, and real reason our companies exist.
Right now, we may not have the power to make immediate changes in the organizations we work with. But, later on, we'll be the ones at the top. Keep this in mind. Never forget. (But if you can create your own organization which is very human, much better. Probably.)
Don't work just to meet the numbers. Work to serve, to love.
[31 Day Challenge Update] As promised yesterday, I'm coming up with a new rule for this 31 Day Challenge. I got two great suggestions from the troublemakers in our tribe. First, Abby, a college friend of mine and co-founder of the Thousand Books Project (feel free to join their mission), suggested that I create a three point scorecard. Green is for the times I meet my main requirement which is waking up at exactly 4:30 AM. Red is for the times I wake up really late. Yellow is for the times I wake up just a tad later than 4:30 AM. If I get a yellow, I don't start all over again until I get a certain number of yellow scores. Pio, who keeps adding his valuable insights to the blog, suggested that I'll be forgiven if I wake up not later than 5 AM. He's giving me a grace period of 30 minutes. So, I'm combining these two. Green is for the times I wake up and get up (because they are two very different things) at exactly 4:30 AM. Yellow is for the times I get up before 5 AM. When I get a yellow, I don't immediately start all over again. But, if I get five yellow scores, I go back to Day 1. I get a red whenever I wake up later than 5 AM and I go back to Day 1 the following day. Thank you, Abby and Pio! Here's my update: Yesterday, I woke up at 5:05 AM so I'm back to Day 1 today. Today, I woke up at 4:30 AM and got up at 4:59 AM. Score: Yellow. No excuses. (Allowable yellow scores remaining: four)