Posted on April 16th, 2008 No comments
Here is something that has always annoyed me about large organisations.: The only goals they ever seem to set are expressed in dollars or percentages.
I am not talking about mission statements here or a company vision or any of the noble ambitions that get set and ignored day to day. I am talking about the many times in my career when I have been told that our new inspirational objective is something like “grow by 23% the next financial year” or “to reach $1.3 million dollars in recognised revenue”.
Yes. That is a goal I can really get behind. I am so motivated now.”
(NB. Read that line aloud in a monotone voice to get the full effect of the sarcasm.)
Seriously, who really does get off on these sorts of things?
I will tell you who…… It’s people who are so far removed from the actual business that they view it as just a money making machine where the inner workings and detail are invisible and irrelevant.
I guess it’s little like planning a holiday based on how many kilometres you travel.
A- How was your holiday?
B- Great, we did 2435kms as planned.
A – Really, where did you go?
B – I’m not sure but we really covered some ground!
A- Did the family have a good time?
B – Probably. You will have to ask them.
A – Right. So What are you planning to do next holiday?
B – Well….if we can squeeze another 5% out I will be happy.
I think the dollars and percentages should not be treated as goals in themselves.
If you want to lose weight. You are far better off setting a goal to go out for a walk every day rather than saying you are going to aim to lose 1.13kgs a week with no real understanding of how you are going to get there.
So in a business context we should be setting goals to do real, tangible things that people can relate to. Like making products better or improving service standards and communicate this to the staff rather that insipid financial porn.
You can still have the dollar and the percentage measures in the background if you want. I am sure they are important to the suits but realise that they are secondary measures and not the core of the matter.