Last Updated on 22 December 2010

Happy New Year!

It’s resolution season.

How do you avoid the let-down, after you have enthusiastically created resolutions for a new year, starting with a clean slate, and by February you’ve stopped working at them?

Here is a New Year’s Resolution… nay… a life philosophy… that you may adopt that I can nearly guarantee you’ll be able to stick to.

Comp Yourself: Do better this year than you did last year.

That’s it. That’s the entire philosophy. YOU determining which areas you wish to focus on.


What does ‘comp’ yourself mean?

Some of us at Starbucks used the term “comp,” a measure of business performance, to gauge our personal job performance.

Many retail companies measure the sales performance of their locations by comparing last year sales with this year sales. They measure comparable (or comp) performance.

If a store did better than last year, we’d say it comp’d itself. It beat its own performance.

To measure our professional growth we would compare how we performed in our jobs this year versus last year.

We asked ourselves questions such as: Did I… contribute more? …do a better job? …take on more projects? …learn more? …get a promotion? …get a pay increase? …receive more praise? …get better feedback from peers? …feel better about my skills?

The measures are up to you… This isn’t the official company performance appraisal, it is your own gauge. There were times in my career when I received praise from my boss, but felt stagnant in my own comp performance. If you feel you haven’t grown enough, put a personal plan together that will get you where you want to be.

You may apply this concept to any aspect of your life. Work. Fun. Home. Personal. Whatever.

Think about where you’d like improvement in your life and work at them. After some time, review and see if you’ve made progress.

Author/blogger John Moore, documents how we practiced this philosophy at Starbucks in a chapter of his book Tribal Knowledge: Business Wisdom Brewed from the Grounds of Starbucks Corporate Culture In fact, he and I must be on the same wavelength… John provides the entire chapter on his blog for free: Always Measure Your Comparable Job Performance.

Same Idea, Alternate Approach

Alan Weiss, in his book Million Dollar Consulting, suggests The 1% Solution – “Improve by 1% a day, and in just 70 days, you’re twice as good.” An interesting and manageable approach.

Have a great new year!,


Paul Williams
professional problem solver
Idea Sandbox