By Christa Peters, Senior Manager, Instructional Design & Knowledge Management | 03/25/2021 |

I often think about what I would write in these blogs while walking my dog, Henry. While we walk, I listen to podcasts – I consider it my time to learn. Recently, I listened to Taken for Granted: Malcolm Gladwell Questions Everything, an interview with Malcolm Gladwell and Adam Grant. At the 26:30 mark, I was stopped dead in my tracks and just stood on the sidewalk listening.

Adam Grant said as part of a conversation analyzing why Labron James is a great athlete: “It’s not his (Labron James) maximum performance that makes him great, it’s his typical performance” and then continued to ask: “Is it better to be consistently good than intermittently exceptional?”

When we identify impact here at Percepta, we talk about recognition for achievements. Often, as a leader, I recognize people (and have been recognized myself) for doing one thing well or even exceptional. But when I really think about it what makes a good agent, instructional designer, knowledge base author, or manager is about them being consistently good.

In the podcast, they used teachers and comedians as examples. We demand that comedians and entertainers be intermittently exceptional. Could you imagine a consistently good comedian? No one would pay to see them perform because we expect exceptional when we pay for a show. However, a teacher needs to be good always in order to make an impact on the lives of children and prepare them for their future.

Your takeaways from this blog, as we enter a new year for performance management should be:

Messages to individual contributors: at the end of every week, take note of the things you did well. Sure, you should also keep track of those exceptional things you did, but you can’t and shouldn’t hold yourself to be exceptional every day, it isn’t sustainable. Focus on the tasks that you complete that make you dependable and make sure they don’t make you forgettable.

Message to leaders: Focus more on your consistently good employees – those are your high achievers. Prioritize career conversations with these employees. Work with them to create development. Give them recognition for being steadfast, consistent and reliable.

Most importantly, know that they are your bench strength for future promotions.