First, here’s a snippet from the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics:

Canadian officials ensured there would be some poignancy at the closing ceremony, selecting figure skater Joannie Rochette as their flag bearer. Her mother died of a heart attack hours after arriving in Vancouver last weekend, but Rochette chose to carry on and won a bronze medal, inspiring her teammates and fans around the world.

“Yes, it’s been a tough week for me,” she said before the ceremony. “But I walk tonight into that stadium with a big smile on my face. … I accomplished my goals, and I want to celebrate with my teammates.”

I post this because it strikes me how motivating real goals can be.

Yes, companies give their employees goals. These goals are usually issued at the dreaded ‘annual review’. For sales people it’s easy, just set a quota. For others it’s usually some inane thing like “learn a new computer skill” or make a “meaningful difference in my department”. Yawn. Sometimes employers are too lazy to even think up goals so they complete the exercise by having the employee set his own goals.

81.7% of employees are not fools (Government Study on Foolishness in the Workplace, 2008, Mundane, They know what you want offered up as goals and they conform.

But the remaining 19.3% are foolish enough to set real goals, actual challenges that they may or may not achieve. Think about how stupid that is! Who would be dumb enough to set a goal with even the slightest chance of failure?

I would. I do it all the time. And I reach those goals more often than not. Far more often than not.

But I don’t have a boss that I must please by reaching easy to achieve, dull, non-productive goals. I have to please clients. So I tell them what my goals are and what it will cost them. I set very high standards. Then, I work like hell to achieve the goals I’ve set.

What would happen if employees were encouraged to set high, meaningful, difficult goals at your organization? And what would happen if management offered support, real support, to help the employee reach those goals? Let’s take out that ‘failure’ part too. Let’s evaluate on effort and creativity.

Sure, keep the quotas if you must.

But if you celebrate the reaching of goals all through the year, your business will reap huge benefits. Let people try the impossible. Celebrate the near misses.


Because Bronze is damn good. If everyone at your business was worthy of a Bronze Medal, your business would be thriving.

Think about this. How common is a Bronze Medal? Have YOU ever seen one? Does anyone at your company have one?

Probably not. They are that rare.

If you got serious about this post and really grasped the value of what I’m writing, you could see amazing things within weeks of reading this.

Chris Reich, and and