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Keeping It in the Green

Keeping It in the Green

On my pool filter there is a gauge which indicates whether water pressure is acceptable. If the needle goes into the red zone, the filter must be back-flushed or it could be damaged. If the pressure falls into then white (low) zone, then the pool isn’t circulating enough water for cleaning. Something has to be cleaned out in that case, probably a skimmer.

So there is a “feasible range” within green (proper pressure) which is fine, no action needed. That reading is between 16 and 22.

The operative word there is “range.” Success with clients (or in nearly any endeavor) is within a “feasible set,” not at a given, perfect point. Improving the client’s condition is the key, not a specific goal. (I’ve seen firms improve profits by 20 percent but justifiably are unhappy with the consultant who cited 25 percent.)

With clients, avoid a “bullseye” approach to success. I’ve always tended to say “a four percent or better gain” or “within the top 10 percent” when talking about goals. When your expectations are too specific—too perfect—you’re going to lead a very high-stress life and feel as if you never are successful enough.

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Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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