Hard Targets; Limp Performance

Top 5 Ways to Come Up Short


Setting effective targets for your enterprise is difficult to do well. Targets that can incorporate and respect your culture, align and motivate resources and successfully support your strategy don't come without a great deal of thought and effort. And implementing the wrong targets can lead you in directions that can be harmful to your business and your people.

Sure, we all know about the guidelines for SMART goals, but you can meet all those criteria and still end up with unsatisfying results.

Here are our Top 5:

1. Missing The Point

Targets need to be created to support specific Objectives, and are not in themselves the point. Without an Objective or Desired Outcome that you're striving to make reality, targets are potentially harmful.


2. Rushing In

"You can't rush art!" One of my favourite lines from Toy Story 1. My kids still quote it years later. And while target setting may be part science, it is also definitely part art. You've got to put in the time to get the critical number or few critical numbers that really drive performance.


3. Making It All About You

Leaders sometimes get confused about how to balance the short-term needs of the business and it's stakeholders and the long-term health of the company. Targets need to look beyond this year's bonus for leadership.


4. Neglecting Your Zones

Where are you strong and where are you weak? If you've reviewed your SWOT recently, you need to pick targets that help build on your strengths and diminish your weaknesses.


5. Quantity Over Quality

The old saw that "What gets measured gets done," is true up to a point. A limited number of targets is best. You can't continue to add target after target and expect all of them to be met.


There are innumerable ways to bungle target-setting. These are but five that spring to mind for us. What about you? What do you think are the most deadly pitfalls? Please give us your comments below.

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