Question: How important for a leader is the level at which the standard is pitched?
Answer: As a leader, where you pitch the standard is all-important.
I was once informed by an insurance company that “the national standard is (and it always has been) an average of seven policies sold per week”.
I was then told by one salesperson that she delivered an average of 11 policies per week. She would work over the weekend if necessary to make the target.
I asked her boss if she was the exception. “Everyone in my team delivers an average of 11 policies per week,” said the boss. “I know it is possible because I did it when I was a salesperson. I expect nothing less.”
I asked myself whether I had perchance come across an exceptional group of salespeople. Not at all, I concluded. Rather, I had come across an exceptional sales team leader!
In short, if you expect the best from people, more often than not the best is what you get.