Optimize Potential, Not Progress

Optimize Your Potential, Not Your Progress

If personal development never happens as planned, why bother?

There are many things wrong with performance appraisals, but one aspect that many authors and experts seem to overlook is the insane idea of “measuring progress against a goal”.

I’ve been part of this nonsense myself.

We asked our employees (many years ago) to create Personal Development Plans, and craft personal goals that they would try to achieve before the end of the year. And in our performance appraisals we would then check their progress against their self-defined goals.

It might be the most useless time-wasting ritual I’ve ever experienced.

At the end of the year it always turned out that people’s personal goals were never achieved (surprise, surprise!) and our employees always developed themselves in directions that were unpredictable, but that seemed to make sense when discovered.

If personal development never happens according to plan, why bother?

If you’ve ever heard of real options and scenario planning, this probably makes perfect sense to you. Nobody can predict what business opportunities will present themselves, how the future unfolds, which projects get cancelled and which ones get started. The best you can do for your career is to be as flexible as possible. Turn yourself into a multi-purpose person, and a T-skilled creative networker.

You should optimize your potential, not your progress.

(image: Fabio Bruna)

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