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A Leader’s Quota; The Pros, Concerns, and 2 “W’s”!

I’m a firm believer most things have their positives and negatives; I prefer focusing on the positives and concerns… maximizing the positives and managing the concerns! Quotas within business are no different; whether you like them or loathe them they have their positives and concerns. So, what are they and how can we enhance not only our Leadership & Work/Life Harmony but also that of our people?


The Positive

Quotas set forth by an organization or leader provides a standard and an expectation of what is to be achieved. It may address many calls to be made in a day, how much must be sold in a month, etc. Whatever the quota is… your people and teams are all aware and on the same page!

Leadership is displayed when the quota is further examined.

  1. Is the number set reasonable, doable, and fair for the people doing it and the circumstances of the time? Selling out all of the rooms of the hotel during a global pandemic may not be the most reasonable, doable, and fair quota to set and hold your people accountable to.


  1. This doesn’t mean we scrap the quota altogether; rather you adjust, become creative, and let the quota evolve as necessary. Perhaps the number set for the quota stays the same, but additional time is allowed. The number stays the same, but you decide to expand your geographical reach. The number may decrease as you come up with more creative ways to serve. Throughout COVID, it was difficult for restaurant owners to stay open let alone meet their quota to break even. They became creative in altering their service to take-out, pick-up, and outside dining. This altered their quota number as well as adding a new stream on revenue once their previous way of serving returns. I can go on, but you get the point!


  1. Do your people have the tools to be successful to achieve the Quota? This is a simple yet powerful question and ignored by too many organizations. Your people are willing… and most employees want to do a great job, hit that number, and be rewarded for it in return! However, that darn machine is old, faulty, and keeps breaking. The person they need to complete the task keeps coming in late, can never be found, they’ve complained, and as a leader nothing was done about it. Your employees have offered ideas to better the process, asked for further training, etc… and nothing has been provided. Sound familiar? As a leader, be sure your people have the tools, coaching, opportunities, and power to not only hit the quota but to blow it out of the water with as little friction as possible!

Remember, the positive of a quota is people know “the number” and are on the same page. Leadership is examining the quota, allowing it to evolve, and providing your people with the proper tools they need to be successful!


The 2 BIG Concerns!

The first BIG CONCERN of a quota is its limiting nature and is not as functional or inspiring as most organizations may think. Yes, it provides a marked number to determine “Success”… however, let’s take a brief look at the 5 Types of Employees.

“The Inspired & Motivated” within your organization were going to make the quota and beyond anyway because that’s who they are! “The New & Unknown” will do the pace of those they partner with and were initially trained by; therefore, get your “New & Unknown” around your “Inspired & Motivated” quickly and often. Your “Steady Steams” are your reliable workers… let them know the number and they tend to hit it. “The Here, but Not Here”, have dreams outside of the company or maybe actively working on getting fired… the quota may not mean much to them at all. Lastly, “The Grouches”, may not care about the goal… or they will hit the quota, but with a lot of negativity, gripes, and gossip along the way.

Many employees outside of the “Inspired & Motivated” Type will reach the quota only to SLOW DOWN right after achieving it… or… see the quota is in sight sooner rather than later and SLOW DOWN to pace the day. Quotas have their positive, however leaders must be mindful of this first concern!

The second BIG CONCERN of a quota is the number set can seem to be more important than the person or team pulling it off. As a leader, I’m sure you care about your people… I am also sadly aware of some companies that have told their staff how replaceable they are and how quickly someone else will come in a do their job! Although this is a universal truth… let’s face it… if you pass away tomorrow, your company will post your job on Indeed, interview, and replace… a harsh truth… but you don’t say that to your people or intentionally make them feel that way! Unfortunately, quotas can inadvertently make our people feel that way.

Here’s an example, those newly promoted into positions of leaders hyper-focused on managing, because they’ve yet learned how to lead yet… therefore tend to focus on quotas rather than their people. Those in positions of leadership for too long who have burned-out, bored-out, or on auto-pilot may begin to sound like a robot droning on and on about the quota. I’m sure you know the boss that uses all of the company jargon and bureaucratic word salad of “I noticed you didn’t _____________ and our metrics are ___________. If you don’t get it done, we’re going to  ______________”. Well, that’s inspiring! The biggest concern regarding quotas is they can fail to motivate and inspire. So, what to do?


The 2 “W’s”

Their “Why and What” – As a leader, stay curious about your people; knowing their “Why” they work for the company, “Why” they like their job, and “What” they’d like to get out of working with, for, and under you? Some of your people may mention wanting a promotion, raise, increased knowledge of the various areas of the organization, or may simply need the job to pay next month’s rent. Being curious enough to know will say a lot about you and your leadership; allowing you to now mix their “Why & What” with your goals, organizational goals, and quotas!

What’s a “Win” – It never ceases to amaze me how many people wake up and live their life on auto-pilot, professionally and personally. Ask yourself as a leader (every morning you rise), what’s a win for me today? Ask your team, ask your people individually, ask your kids. It’s amazing what their answer may be! Saying it aloud makes it real, makes it important, and makes it doable!

As a leader, you now have an opportunity to help them develop a plan or help them to evolve their answer. “What would be a win for you today?”. “Awesome, how are you going to do that or make that happen”. It’s important to help narrow down their vague “Win” to more reasonable, doable, realistic, and bite-sized actions… these actions done with consistent intent will breeds progress and a professional and personal evolution!

I was recently driving my son to school and we had this “What’s a Win Conversation”. He answered, “to win my basketball game after school today”. I responded, “Awesome, how are you going to do that?”. He said, “Play my best.”. My final question was, “What does that mean specifically?”. He said, “take my jump shots, drive to the hole to score, pass, or get fouled, and play good defense to get more steals”. Now that’s an answer, a plan, and the way leaders think!

Remember, quotas have positives and concerns. Live in the positives of your people being on the same page and knowing the set number that equals “Success”. As a leader, manage the concerns of your people possibly feeling like a dispensable cog in the system by examining the quota further and doing the 2 W’s!


“The positive of a quota is people know “the number” and are on the same page. Leadership is examining the quota, allowing it to evolve, and providing your people with the proper tools they need to be successful!”   – Andre Young

Written by: Andre Young

Enhance Leadership and Work/Life Harmony in your Organization, your Leaders, Employees, and Teams with Andre Young’s Speaking Engagements, Evolve & Lead Training Programs (on-site, online, or virtual), and1-on-1 Growth Sessions!

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