I've divided my system into three parts. Exposure, Development and Printing.
My Print quality goal is to make a negative that falls between Grade 2 and Grade 3 paper (so that a "perfect" negative might work on either paper, but if too contrasty it would fit Grade 2 and if too flat it would be OK for Grade 3).
My Development quality goal is to make clean, scratch-free negatives that are developed sensitometrically to the Contrast Index I call for. The CI is the easiest thing for me to hit. The clean, scratch-free quality remains what I can best term "expressive." I'm working on that.
My Exposure quality goal is to place sufficient shadow exposure to get good detail in places that might normally be solid featureless black. I also try to keep highlights from blowing out. So I take my sensitometry results and "shift" my EI by 2/3 stop towards overexposure (I shoot T-Max 400 at EI 250). For nature photography I will use Zone System and place shadows on Zone II, I'll rate the film for N, N+1, N-1 etc. For special purposes I will use Zone System and make extreme placements for graphic effect. For newspaper reporting I will use incident readings and shoot as-recommended by the meter. Sometimes I will just set my camera as needed to catch the shot and deal with it by developing by inspection and printing on Grade 4.