We are taught throughout our entire lives to set realistic goals. To not overshoot, not go for the moon. Instead set reasonable goals so you can give yourself a pat on the back. Which, on the surface make sense. IN pavlova theory the dog is taught to salivate as a reaction to a bell in expectance of a treat. With goals we are taught to that setting reasonable goals is followed by gratification much faster than high “unattainable goals.” I used to think this way until I met the owner on a limousine company North of the border. What he said to me changed the way I think about goals and my behaviour forever. His business was headed on a downward slope financially for years and he was beginning to eat into his savings as he could not bring himself to downsize and lose his charished employees.
How did this happen?
He set the goal for years of literally BREAKING EVEN!? YEs sad to say but his goal was to break even just enough to keep his home and family situated in a perpetual penny pinching situation despite working extremely hard through their lives. One day he woke up and realized. Not only was he setting his goals too low but he wanted to dramatically change the way he thought and acted. HE explained that obtaining his psychology degree was his biggest and most difficult goal he had ever obtained. But when he reached that goal he was terribly disappointed to learn that his degree was not accompanied b any job and through chance found himself driving limousines. AS years passed he ended up in control of the company and dispatching drivers every weekend. Demand lowered and so did the funds. Until this last quarter!!
So what did he do?
He set his goals unreasonably high and help all of his employees to the standard. He let everyone know he was setting the goal of quadrupling the monthly take by running an aggressive advertising campaign that would literally make or break the company. It was this harsh, high risk reward goal that forced his team to get up early, put their game faces on and absolutely crush it for three months straight. Sure some people hated his guts, but you know what? His ethics did not allow him to let his business fail or let his employees not provide for their own by not putting in enough effort. You see effort is a renewable resource. Where there is a lack of monetary opportunity there is always a full tank of effort waiting for you to unleash and regain financial goals. By setting his team up in a cut throat situation he was putting everything at risk.
Why did it work?
Have you ever jumped into a cold pool. Think about that moment when you’ve fully committed, theres nothing you can do. You’re in, it’s going to be painful, it’s going to suck for a few seconds but you’ve committed. It’s this type of commitment he inspired in his team to grind out three month that turned his business revenue up 400% and earned all his drivers more tips then the previous year combined. It was taking just as much effort for these employees to go home and say I think my boos is nuts I’m going to lose my job and stress out constantly as it would to (wo)man up and take the large amount of action required to get this business back in its feet. You see, whether fit is a limousine company or a personal thing. You have a choice, sink or swim, both will take the same amount of effort, which would you enjoy more?