When I was a professor, I saw many students get a poor grade. Some of them would come to my office, hoping they could talk me into a better grade. Occasionally I would change a grade, but most of those who came to see me fell into one of two categories: 1) the “deceived” or 2) the “misinformed.”
The “deceived” ones were the ones who fooled themselves into thinking that results were not necessary. As long as they had a “good story” as to why they didn’t do well, they thought that should’ve been enough to get a better grade.
Those “deceived” ones were probably raised by parents who coddled them, who took away the consequences of nonperformance. If their children had excuses that were “good enough,” they let them get by. The problem is, some of you are working with or managing some of those “deceived” adults today. They’re the ones who’ve always got an excuse as to why they’re not succeeding.
Don’t buy it. Remind them, there’s a big difference between RESULTS and NO RESULTS PLUS A GOOD STORY. Then help them focus on what they’re going to do to get results.
The second type I referred to were the “misinformed.” Those were the ones who came to my office upset with a poor grade because they really had tried. They put a lot of effort into the project, essay, or exam, but didn’t do well. They believed that all their effort should count for something.
Unfortunately, that’s immature thinking. That’s for babies, not adults. When we were children, we got a lot of praise for just trying–trying to walk and trying to learn. We lived in an age of activity. As an adult, however, we live in a world of results, and in that world, only results count.
When you interact with these “misinformed” individuals, gently remind them times have changed. While you appreciate their effort, and while you respect the fact they really tried, in the new world of work we don’t buy people’s time, we buy what they accomplish. No one is “entitled” to a better grade, a promotion, a pay raise, or tenure just because they’ve put in the effort or put in the time. Remind them time on the job is one thing, but results on the job are everything.
Take a look at yourself this week. Make sure you’re not one of the “deceived” ones with a good story or one of the “misinformed” ones hooked on effort. If you find yourself in one of these categories, spend the next week focused on results and see how much you can accomplish.