I had some interesting thoughts this week around the idea of thresholds and how many of our personal and business relationships are influenced, if not governed by them. As I’ve written here a few times, one of my most enjoyable and satisfying activities is piloting a motorcycle.
I also enjoy reading and subscribe to several publications dedicated to the sport – one being Motorcyclist. In the September, 2015 edition, Keith Code discusses balancing thresholds in our riding (his Code Break column is the first thing I read). His ability to convey technical information in practical terms comes from years of experience – both riding and teaching. I was fortunate to attend his California Superbike School and he is even better in person (highly recommended).
Code defines a threshold as “the level of intensity that must be exceeded for a certain reaction, result, or condition to occur.” His examples include how much throttle it takes to accelerate, how much brake to slow or stop, and how much traction is required for maximum cornering. A threshold, he adds, can also be the point of excess – how much is too much gas, too much brake, or too much lean angle.
The practical application comes from summary statements in the article.
“Riding is an act of balancing those thresholds.”
“The pivotal questions always remain the same: What’s too much and what’s too little?”
Substitute “life” or “business” in place of riding in the sentence above. How much is required to achieve a certain reaction, result or condition? Consider a child exploring behavioral boundaries in order to find thresholds of positive or negative reward. Like finding the threshold of clutch engagement and balancing it against the throttle threshold to move smoothly forward, we must find a balance in our relationships.
In our context, what is required to achieve the desired, positive behaviors in an organization? Employee recognition and business incentive programs are constructed around thresholds of performance – and balanced with thresholds of reward and recognition significant enough to inspire positive results.
Just as understanding the fundamentals of acceleration, braking and cornering thresholds remain priorities for motorcyclists, having a clear understanding of your objectives and thresholds of performance – balanced with the thresholds of reward and recognition – will provide a more positive outcome for your organization.