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No Where To Go But Down

March 12, 2018

You have not achieved perfection. You have merely guaranteed eventual failure.

Our clients grade us as a supplier every year. It’s a ten point scale and the competition is pretty fierce between the account managers for the T-Scores, as they are called. It’s not just the number. It’s the fact that the number is representative of how well we are meeting the client needs. A happy client is more likely to give us additional business.

I work very hard to satisfy my client. Last year, after coming close for the past several years, we finally achieved a 10. The score wasn’t only for my contribution, but I was an important part of the team. I was understandably happy with the results. My manager pointed out the downside of achieving a perfect 10.

Two things, Rodney. First, it’s going to be more difficult to get additional resources for your projects going forward.

What do you mean? The client is really happy with us.

Sure, but you’ve shown that you can achieve success with your current resources. Why would management need to give you additional?

Oh. . .I hadn’t thought of it that way.

And there’s another thing.


There’s only one direction to go from here.

He wasn’t denegrating my work. He was rightly pointing out that the best I can hope for next year is to maintain my level. It’s impossible to achieve a higher score. Naturally, I can still improve. The entire team can improve, but we need some other way to measure it than the T-score.

Or, we might miss a step and drop down to a 9, or worse an 8.

My personal review was this past month. I did really well. I work well with my team. I’ve been in my job long enough to completely understand what’s expected of me. I obviously work great with the client. And my evaluation score reflected it.

And I considered my former manager’s comments on our T-score. There’s a tendency to say, “What have you done for me lately?” You are often only as good as last success and potentially as bad as your next screw up. And there will be a next one. Just in the past week, twice I’ve shared what turned out to be confidential information with my extended team. Didn’t mean to. Just didn’t know it was not common knowledge.

I screw up. But, I also work very hard to minimize the screw ups and make sure I’m exceeding expectations in other areas as a sort of buffer against the inevitable setbacks.

So, yes, strive for perfection. When it comes to work and career, there is really no downside to being absolutely the best you can be at your job. Just realize that if you do achieve the highest possible ranking, there’s only one direction to go from there.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2017 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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