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It's Cinco de Mayo ... Stay Thirsty My Friends!

Posted May 1, 2014 10:11 AM by Mark Cutler

With Cinco de Mayo just a few days away, I couldn’t help but think of the terrific Dos Equis television commercials with “The Most Interesting Man in the World” (MIMW) and his tag line: “Stay Thirsty My Friends!”

I think that line embodies a great attitude or value for an organization to adopt with respect to its performance management system—“stay thirsty,” or said another way, “never be satisfied.”  When measuring and managing your organization’s performance, you should never be satisfied because when you are satisfied and rest on your laurels, that is when your performance begins to suffer and others start to outperform you.

Translating this value to strategy and performance management means that when your measures are telling you that you are hitting your targets, it does not mean your work is done. 

Sure, take a minute to celebrate your success—it is important for organizations to do that—but plan your next challenge.  What will your new targets look like?  Was setting a target of 5% annual growth in fundraising too low? Set it at 8% for the next three years.  Is there a whole new set of customers or clients we can serve?

This brings to mind a great quote from a more business and technology savvy person than the MIMW, Thomas Edison is credited with saying: “Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.” 

While it is important to not be unreasonable and set your organization up for failure, setting new goals and objectives as well as raising your targets is a way to ensure the individuals in your organization aren’t satisfied for long and critical to the continued success of your organization.

You don’t have to be like the MIMW and—as he is known to do—start your Cinco de Mayo party on March 8, but remember, “Stay thirsty my friends!”