who needs tomorrow?

There seems to be a truth about employee performance reviews — the person(s) that did something amazing in the weeks leading up to the review is/are much more likely to be rewarded than those that did great work throughout the year, or did something amazing months ago.

The measure of “amazing” is: perceived, immediate impact. It rarely accounts for actual value, long-term value, or even mid/longterm cost of that immediate impact. Consider the oft-told story of the “smart” salesperson that convinces customers to buy product they don’t need near the end of the fiscal year (to exceed their quota & earn a bonus), and then return it early the next fiscal (after the books are closed), because by then s/he will have moved on to another job, and the “negative” sales are now someone else’s problem.

This mentality is also what drives Wall Street’s assessment of a company’s worth, and what has led even led to extreme salaries for senior executives who are reputed to be able to achieve immediate impact (but at what cost?).

Successful organizations may ride the immediate gratification wave quite well for a reasonable period, but at some point the momentum is dissipated, and the wave will crash.

Is it possible for enduring value/investments in longterm capacity to be sexy? They say 99% of overnight successes happened after a decade+ of incredibly hard work. Paradoxically, once they get there, most “winners” want a series of immediate successes, which is why there are so many one-hit-wonders.

Will our society crumble if we can’t get past this need for immediate gratification? Or can we just keep riding the wave?