Don’t Focus on Meeting Goals, Focus on Exceeding Them

This morning, I came across the umpteenth article about how to ‘meet or exceed’ >>insert goal/vision/etc.<< (yeah that memorable…might have been a solid article but once I saw ‘meet and exceed’ s/he lost me).

Huh? Why isn’t is just exceed?

Businesses design contracts to exceed SLAs. Not exceeding customer expectations will sink a business. Professional athletes workout physically and mentally year round to exceed expectations and land that sweet contract.

When someone writes ‘meet and exceed’, is it just mindless regurgitation of established (but tired) phrasing? Have we, as a society, reduced ourselves to the point where the status quo is OK?

Am I completely missing something?

I can’t fathom why you wouldn’t want to exceed expectations in any realm, for any audience…

For your boss.

For your customers.

For your family.

…for you

Let’s say you are looking to get in shape and make the commitment to hire a personal trainer. You choose to test out two personal trainers to see who is the best fit and who can help you meet your goal of defining a sets and reps scheme to improve your shoulder strength.

Both charge $150 and hour for physical fitness training.

Both walk you through a sets and reps scheme to improve your shoulder strength.

Both focus on form, ensuring you get the exercises and movements completed correctly.

Both are a good chemistry fit, upbeat and positive.

You finish your workout circuits with each, expectations met. Each trainer delivered exactly what you signed up for and delivered it well. S/he is well suited for your personality. You have a tough decision to make as each met every expectation and goal you set for your trial to find the best personal trainer to help get you shredded for swimsuit season.

You get home to an email from Trainer B, that:

  • checks in to see how you are doing
  • thanks you for your choosing her/him
  • wants to see if you have any questions

In that email, Trainer B includes:

  • a recipe for a protein smoothie
  • sample workout plan to give your shoulders superhuman strength
  • example diet to get you lean
  • resources for preventing shoulder injuries

Who gets your business?

Barring any offensive statement in the email and unless you are looking for a trainer who isn’t an overachiever or, I’ll hazard a guess you’ll go with Trainer B.

The same concept applies when a B2C customer calls to complain about a delayed package – don’t just apologize and open a claim with the carrier, comp their shipping fee on the spot and send them a coupon for 10% off their next order. You’ll have a customer who will not just buy again, but advocate for your company and spread the word to friends, family and relatives.

Similarly, the concept applies to just about everything else…

Why you’d want anything else is beyond me.

I’m going to go ahead and assume that the writers who use the ‘meet or exceed’ line are leading pretty average lives…

Also published on Medium.

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