Do You Reward Results Only, or Also Effort?

The exchange started with this:

Don’t confuse effort with results.

When I read that — looks like it started with Jason Fields, the interface expert for Huffington Post — I liked it. It reminded me of my first real boss, who taught that a reason why not isn’t good enough. It wasn’t my absolute favorite lesson in life, but it stuck. And so I passed it on.

My quote of Jason’s quote generated a challenging follow-up question, from Sajid Husain, who describes himself as a techno-geek entrepreneur in India:

As a leader, do you look only for results, or appreciate the effort even in failure?

I said case by case; no general rules apply. Sajid agreed, adding:

Just appreciating the effort in failures can bring complacency and decrease the hunger to be successful.

This is a great example of  real management, live people, and real problems. You can’t always follow certain rules. Sajid’s obviously right about danger of complacency. But when you’ve put real effort into something that didn’t work out, how would you feel about a dose of “don’t confuse effort with results?”

Real management isn’t always following the rules. You need to be able to get off the path and deal with things case by case. In my opinion.


  • business direction says:

    I would rather give rewards on both results and efforts..

  • Sajid Husain says:

    I completely agree with the concluding lines:

    “Real management isn’t always falling the rules. You need to be able to get off the path and deal with things case by case.”

    It’s definitely not about always following the rules. It’s more about how you can address the challenging situations dynamically. I always used to get confused when I read leadership books and they list down numbered principles of leadership. Will following those principles guarantee success? Not necessarily! Many times you have to get off the paths.

    “You need to be able to get off the path and deal with things case by case.”

    @Tim: I’m honoured that you mentioned me in your blog! This made my day. 🙂

  • Annie says:

    In the real world, results do matter. The problem with only rewarding results is that sometimes cultural changes in an office atmosphere are unsuccessful because people want to do things the old way (comfort zone). If you never try something you will never have success so effort is important. Let’s face it if you do a drug trial that ends up a failure or does not win FDA approval you spend a lot of money for nothing. However, if you are successful the money pours in until the patent expires and it goes generic.

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