We’ve had two marathon’s completed here at Bowland in the last couple of months. John broke 4 hours. Peter didn’t. John – probably correctly – has looked back at his training and feels all went well. Pete has looked back and said “I need to do something different to improve”. He is looking at his training plan, nutrition, in-race fuelling. John is suggesting that he won’t run another marathon now as he has achieved his main goal. Pete is considering running another one in the autumn. I suspect Pete will run more and be more active than John over the summer.
Now outcomes are obviously important but this simple review of two marathon’s run with the same target demonstrates how much learning often comes out of missing a target. Not many of us consider what we could do better when we actually achieve our aims.
It is useful to relfect on this point when we look at performance appraisal in the work place. If our real aim of performance appraisal is to improve organisational performance over the long term then missing targets and reflecting on what to do differently is probably the most effective activity. This can be hard to do when the appraisal – and potentially grade and reward – is driven by whether the goal was achieved or not.
I had a really interesting chat with Pete about what he was considering changing, what may have caused issues and the training he was beginning to plan. His motivation was clear and I’m not sure if this had been an appraisal that we would have gained much by my pointing out that he had missed the initial target.
This post was agreed with Pete on the proviso that I publish a post when he breaks the 4 hour mark. It will be a pleasure to do so.