Out Of My Mind

out of my mind

Out of My Mind (with credit – and apologies - to Joe Bayly)

Many years ago I had the privilege to meet Joe Bayly and to learn from him. Joe was an editor for ETERNITY magazine (no longer published); in it he wrote a monthly column titled Out of My Mind. Each column was a journey with Joe’s mind as he mused about life around him, the experiences he encountered and the outcomes he observed. He was especially insightful as he saw Christians live what they perceived to be their calling.

It was apparent that Joe’s ‘mind’ was closely connected to his ‘heart’ and he worked at being sure there was an integrity that linked our minds/hearts and our words and behaviors. I learned much as he challenged us to think freshly. And so I will try to share some of my musings about leadership and organizational dynamics; I suspect that often it may lead to diversions that may be much more personal observations. But then, being a leader is as much about WHO you are as it is about WHAT you do.

Exceeds Expectations


Exceeds Expectations. This is a term that often is a part of an organization’s Performance Management and Evaluation system and it is usually meant to connote when an employee performs beyond planned expectations in some or all areas of responsibility. Often it also leads to larger compensation increases.

But too often there are too many ‘Exceeds Expectations’. Some years ago a colleague vice president rated all 6 of his direct reports as ‘Exceeds Expectations’ – for 3 years in a row. The issue was not their respective performances; rather it seemed that the Vice president had not set expectations equal to the talent he employed. This is often a key issue: knowing how to wisely and fairly set expectations. If you have hired excellent talent, and if your organization prides itself in being a high performance organization then you should be setting expectations high. And most people should then be rated ‘meets expectations’. Many employee associates are not happy with this perspective.

First of all it may impact their compensation; organizations should structure their salary schedules in a manner to avoid this. Secondly, many talented employees still have memories of their school report cards: often they were A and B students. Now they carry that kind of ranking into the workplace and they assume that ‘exceeds expectations’ is the equivalent of an A. Organizations must communicate and train to change this mind set.

Or risk being like the Lake Wobegon folk where ‘all the children are above average’.

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