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Are quotas helpful?

A reader asked for some comments about quotas.  So lets delve into the wonderful world of quotas for today.

At the root of it, what is a quota?  What does it do?  What does it say about you and your business?  Is the quota needed?  What if you meet your quota early in the month?  What if you aren’t close to your quota by the end of the month? 

A quota is a goal to achieve a certain benchmark.  It probably has something to do with sales or a dollar amount in earnings.  It is the standard that is measured to achieve success in someone’s eyes.  That someone is probably a manager or boss of some kind who is focused on the bottom line.  They need to make X amount of sales in order to maintain or exceed an acceptable level of profit.

Step right up, I have a quota to meet!

I’m not a fan and here’s why.

If I set a goal to write one blog post a day, that is the minimum.  I’m only beholden to myself and the faithful readers who come back here day after day.  What happens if I miss a day?  Not much.  No real repercussions.  I still eat and my lights and heat stay on at home.  So I don’t set myself a quota.  My motivation is different.

What I’ve told myself and focused my energy on, is providing inspiration and guidance to the reader.  I cannot put a quota on that.  If I want to provide my insight I need to write.  I want to write because I enjoy the interaction and the comments and emails.  This is not a chore, thus no quota.  Quotas are tedious.  Trying to be remarkable cannot be quantified  with a quota.

If you are selling medical equipment, shoes, insurance or some fantastic service don’t focus on the quota.  The quota is the absolute minimum.  If you were in school it would be the minimum passing grade.  Congratulations, you earned a C-.  You’re better than that. 

Do your job and surpass your minimum standard because you can.  A quota is simply the floor.  You should focus your efforts and try to break through the ceiling.

  1. ChrisT
    January 19, 2011 at 10:20 am

    …And once you’ve broken through the ceiling, feel free to take a day off (even if it’s in the middle of the week) go the the beach, read a book and discover what you might do for an encore!

    Your boss could have a hard time arguing with that!

  2. January 19, 2011 at 11:29 am

    ‘A quota is simply the floor. You should focus your efforts and try to break through the ceiling.’

    I like that quote and it makes sense to me because I’m passionate about what I’m trying to achieve (get rid of my day job) and will do what it takes to reach this goal. However,I HAVE to have this goal in sight so I can work toward it as quickly as possible.

    Then if I exceed it then that’s fantastic (here’s hoping!)

    Thanks for an interesting post and keep up the good work 🙂


    • January 19, 2011 at 11:37 am


      Putting limits on “success” is counterproductive. It just sounds strange.


  3. January 19, 2011 at 11:30 am


    What fun is being successful if you can’t enjoy it!


    • ChrisT
      January 19, 2011 at 12:47 pm

      I’m not sure you ARE successful, unless you’ve stopped to enjoy it!

  4. January 30, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Actually, many find that in business, the result is more important than the effort put in. In personal relationships, it should be exactly the opposite.

  5. January 31, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Good insight Retro.

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