Raising the Bar is About Achievement, Pushing Harder: But Raising the Bar Doesn’t Always Work in Some Organizations…

Setting high expectation, aspiration, digging deeper and creating a culture of achievement is one of the most difficult challenges in leading an organization… Raising the bar is about achievement, which carries a connotation of making something– better, faster, bigger…

Raising the bar is a common business cliché that means never accept ordinary or the minimum because ordinary and/or the minimum will never make an organization great… According to Julie Rains; raising the bar challenges an organization, it requires a deep understanding of how to overcome obstacles to reach goals…

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Raising the bar means focus on behaviors that deliver results, it’s about thinking strategically and creatively, it’s about dealing with shortcomings, and integrating new knowledge into day-to-day actions in order to achieve superior outcome… Unlike moving the goalposts (i.e., shifting goalposts), which is metaphor that means to change criterion (goal) of a process or competition, in such a way that a new goal offers intentional advantage or disadvantage… Raising the bar means changing beliefs, changing attitude, changing behaviors, changing outcomes– it’s the ‘bar of expectations’…

In the article Raise the Bar, Over Promise by John Halter writes: The ‘speed of business’ continues to multiply exponentially shaping the competitive contest… If you are not asserting yourselves to be– the best, fastest, most reliable… then you are destined to fall behind competitors in contest to deliver ‘best in class’ performance. The ability to ‘over promise & over deliver’ is business necessity… being able to continually raise the bar and jump over it is the means for building a great organization… Acting with a sense of urgency and speed of action is an important differentiation– speed shows you ‘care’…

To drastically improve an organization’s performance it must embrace the risk of ‘over promising’; exceeding capability of the competition… While the ability to ‘over delivering’ the ‘best in class’ solution creates competitive advantages beyond normalized feature-benefit claims… Organization must be committed to ‘raising the bar’, striving for the highest standards, being first, and setting ideals for their industry… A ‘street smart’ leader challenges conventions of the past, and takes personal risks to reach breakthrough performance… Most important, great leaders make one thing very clear; the organization is going to raise the bar and succeed, because ‘they care’…

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In the article Raising the Bar Doesn’t Always Work by Noah St. John writes: That term ‘raise the bar’ is a metaphor borrowed from sports world, which is constantly strive for–better, farther, faster… However is that the way business really works? While it may sound simplistic, many business leaders set themselves up to fail simply because their ‘bar of success’ is set too high…

Sometimes, the bar is so high that even when the organization does achieve something meaningful, significant, it’s never good enough… Yes, it’s very impressive when organization’s raise the bar to shoots for high levels of achievements, but what happens if they– don’t or can’t reach the bar? Then what is the plan, e.g.; Lower the bar? Ignore the bar? Fire the leader?

In the article Raising the Bar on Expectations by Joe Girard writes: It’s smart to get into the habit of always setting a target that makes you ‘reach’ little bit higher. Anyone can achieve modest goals but modest goals always yield modest rewards… However, raising the bar is not free– the higher the ‘bar’, the greater the need for more effective plan of action… Once the bar is raised, not having an organized plan is a little bit like running out of gas before you even start the race. It’s critical that you keep your thinking focused on the ‘bar’ and don’t drift into unnecessary distractions… If you are properly organized with a good plan of action, stay the course… the higher bar is within your reach…

In the article Raising the Bar by Trevor Dagg writes: In the current business environment ‘average is over’. Employees that don’t work to their full potential are negatively affecting the performance of their companies… Hiring people with the right skills is no longer the most important factor in determining success of a company… Managers must focus on employees actual achievements… According to Harry Sinden; it’s the attitude of the players not their skills that is the biggest factor in determining the success of an organization… Conditioning an organization with the right attitude, an attitude to achieve… is the most important challenge of leadership…  

Raising the bar involves setting objectives-goals and ensuring they are SMART (i.e.; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time Bound). To achieve SMART objectives, performance must be managed on a ‘continuous’ basis. This means the implementation of continuous review process that holds managers and staff accountable for the KPI (key performance indicators) of achievement… Ongoing transparent feedback facilitates the realities of raising the bar…

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Raising the bar starts with taking responsibility for– where you are, where you want to go, what actions you must take to get there… and ultimately, accountability for the outcome… According to Anthony Cole; perhaps the biggest problem for under-performing is the reality that many leaders establish minimal standard for achievement– they reward minimalism… Raising the bar means eliminating the minimal acceptable standard of performance, and embracing a new mind-set of extraordinary standard of performance… A mind shift is required when looking to achieve higher levels of performance…

According to Lou Ludwig; when an organization steadily raises the bar of expectations– just a little higher and just a little out of reach, it causes many managers and employees to stretch their efforts– just a little out of their comfort zone… This continual stretching out of the comfort zones causes an organization’s potential to steadily achieve greater levels of performance and growth… It’s about raising the bar of expectation and achievement…

According to Michael Bentz; raise expectations is not about increasing workload it’s about setting higher expectations to increase results. And leaders begin by raising the bar on themselves; then they work their way down to direct reports and advise them to do the same… Soon everyone in the organization receive the message that ‘the bar has been raised’… Unfortunately many organizations suffer from a culture of mediocrity, accepting current level of output and performance…

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Executives tend to lean heavily on a few top performers and accept average performance from the rest. They set goals that cater to the ‘people’ instead of the ‘job’… Leaders often underestimate their employees’ abilities and desire to do better… Most employees can and will rise to a greater challenge… but it’s all communication; leaders need to explain why this is important with the benefits for the employees and the organization.

The reality is most employees think that 40-60% of their capabilities are utilized… Many employees welcome the challenge to perform at higher levels: All leaders need to do is ask…