Setting Goals

Easier than it sounds.Goals

Setting organization goals is something I have seen even the best and brightest leaders struggle to develop over the past 15 years. What tends to happen is that the process and formulas become so cumbersome and nuanced that even the goal writers themselves hardly understand what has been captured. At Employee Strategies, we have a few truisms—one of which, is an Einstein quote, “If you can’t explain it to a 6 year-old, you don’t understand it yourself. “

Our lesson learned: Keep it simple.

What are the ideal goals for your organization? The answer resides in the power of focus. In sports we have very identifiable goals like winning the World Series. But at work, winning isn’t always that clear. Many times, the leaders go on retreat and come back with what they believe to be the best path. The game of Telephone Operator starts to dilute the goal message the minute the team leaves the retreat.

Our lesson learned: Consistent & clear communication on results is vital.

What do good goals look like? Take a look at NASA and the space program. In 1961, President Kennedy set a goal to send a man to the moon and return him safely before the end of the decade. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped off that lunar lander, right on to the Moon’s surface. Kennedy’s goal setting was far more detailed than his predecessor. Eisenhower set what he called a goal, but was really more a strategic intent—To Be the Leader in Space Exploration [...]

Performance Management Flaw – Forgetting 10 Months of the Year

In our series that examines the flaws of traditional performance management, flaw number 7 highlights the Golden Gate Bridge Effect of the review cycle.

I have heard this explained a number of ways over the years. Recency. Organizational Amnesia. A phenomenon of performance reviews is that we remember those things that happened within the very recent past.

If you look at a Suspension Bridge like the Golden Gate from the perspective of the water, you get the normal workflow for traditional performance reviews. From the left, the first tower illustrates the beginning of the year—time to set goals. Then begins the drop-off—the point at which no one looks at performance. Do we not care about performance from February to November? 10 months of the year. Of course not, we just don’t care about the Performance Review system. The primary reason for that, in my opinion, is because the system doesn’t tell us how we are progressing as an organization or individuals. What if your performance review gave you updates on organization performance? [...]

Ratings—Kids look, Dad Exceeds Expectations on Occasion!

As performance review season is thrust upon employees and managers this winter, the mumbling about our HR systems galvanizes our employees. If there is one thing most can agree upon, is that we really don’t like our performance review process. Based on my experience, one of the Top 10 Flaws with our performance review systems is the Rating.

In the United States, we grow up with grades. Those grades lead to lists….the A Honor Roll, the B Honor Roll and bumper stickers that say my kid is smarter than yours. Somewhere along the way, performance reviews in our organizations and businesses thought it would be a good idea to roll out ratings for their employees. Instead of A, B, C, D and F, we took our school-based 5 point rating scale and dressed it up. By the way, what happened to E?

Back to my point, at work:

A= Exceeds Expectations
B= Exceeds Expectations on Occasion
C=Meets Expectations
D=Below Expectations
F= Needs Improvement

Can you imagine thousands of employees riding home on their bus, train or car and running into their home with their awe-inspiring rating ready for a prominent spot on their fridge? Look kids, Dad Exceeds Expectations on Occasion! Perhaps an after-market of a bumper sticker series [...]