We have all seen the notices at the entrance to amusement park rides – usually next to a stationary measuring stick. It says “You must be this tall to go on this ride.” Even my 7 year old grandson understands that while he may be taller than last year, he still has to be at least “this tall” to go on the ride.
But adults who are paid to achieve certain objectives can be heard to say things like “we did better than last year” or “you should have seen us 5 years ago” or “we are beating our competitors.” That’s great if your objectives are relative.
What if they are absolute? For example – return to shareholders 8% growth, on average. If that is the objective but the measures used to evaluate success are relative, you have a recipe for relative success and absolute failure.
You would think this is rare – but it isn’t. Ask yourself if your measures match your objectives. Better yet, ask those whose jobs would not be threatened by an honest answer to that question.