Reference #373: Thinking in Systems
The "drift to low performance", also called "eroding goals" or the "boiled frog syndrome", is a system archetype wherein performance standards are influenced by past performance, which when combined with a negative bias in perceiving past performance leads to a reinforcing loop of eroding goals and hence a system-wide drift to low performance. Desired state is influence by perceived state, and more weight is given to recent poor performance.
One way out of this trap it to hold performance standards absolute. Even better it to update the standards based on the best past performances, not the worst. This leads to a virtuous cycle where each success encourages participants to work harder.
Meadows. Thinking in Systems, 2008. (121-123)RSS