“Getting out of my comfort zone” I am sure you have heard this phase numerous times in your career. But seriously, how many of us take stock of what we are doing every day and introspect about the zone that we operate in?
Before you answer, let us understand these zones.
What is comfort zone?
This is where our fear lives, action is sporadic and excitement wanes.
What is stretch zone?
Excitement resides here. Action is taken independent of fear.
What is panic zone?
This is home to disbelief and fear thrives blocking actions.
I am certain that most of us will come up short with the same definition for ‘Comfort Zone’.
We are part of a success story with our team and revenues doubling Year-on-Year. We have set a steep target for ourselves and it is now, important to break our shell and start operating in Stretch zone, in every function.
That means, we must test our ‘limits’ regularly – to see what we are capable of achieving when we use our strengths productively in different ways. This also builds what we call ‘agility’, or the crucial capacity to be flexible across different situations and operating environments.
First and foremost, a powerful by-product of setting stretch goals is that it instills confidence in us. Why else would we agree to such a goal if we did not feel that we had the skill or aptitude to achieve it?
Another benefit of stretch goals is that it can convey the importance of the work. Rather than being mundane, it requires us to be the best version of ourselves and to explore new territories and opportunities.
In Sales, for example, it is about taking Stretch quota…which translates in calling more customers than you call now. Refining our positioning and language with the customer or constantly batting on Front Foot (cricket analogy always works!). Innovative thinking towards long term/larger deals and hence, improving order backlog.
In Engineering, it means laser focus on CSAT (Customer Satisfaction). Cerium philosophy on client acquisition has been ‘less but deeper relationships’. Most of our business is either repeat or recommended. And more importantly, it implies constantly cementing our leadership position in Hardware services (identify and fill holes).
In Finance, it is about stretching the creativity and taking risks, which in turn, enables us to do larger deals.
I promise this will keep us excited all day. Being in the Stretch Zone, therefore, can enhance the level of meaning and purpose we extract from our work, reinforcing the message that what we do at work, matters.