Sometimes you set goals that directly conflict with other goals within the organization or even for an individual. You might have one team with a revenue goal and another with a cost cutting goal. When it comes time to spend marketing dollars, you'll have a fight on your hands. Avoid this by understanding incentives, reconciling goals, and then de-conflicting them
- Another challenge you might face in the goal setting process is having goals that are in conflict. Sometimes you'll set goals that directly conflict with other goals within the organization. Individuals may have goals that are in conflict with other individuals. You may have one team with a revenue goal trying to drive top-line sales. Another team has a cost-cutting goal. When it comes time to spend marketing dollars, you're gonna have a fight on your hands. The team with the revenue goal is gonna want to spend like crazy.
The team with the cost-cutting goal is gonna want to cut back. You need to figure out how you're going to de-conflict these goals. The way you can avoid this problem is understanding incentives, reconciling goals, and then de-conflicting them. When goals are in conflict, go up one level in the organization. Look at the higher organizational goals, and ask yourself, "Which of these two conflicting goals "is better aligned with what we're trying to do "as an organization as a whole?" Choose that goal that is more aligned with the higher level goal, and rewrite the other one.
Sometimes goal conflict can be healthy, because it helps balance things like growth and profitability, or gets you to invest in areas that might otherwise be ignored. Just be aware, you don't want to create too much goal conflict. I was in one situation where my team was providing a service to certain business units. One business unit was extremely profitable. It was the company's profit engine. Another business unit was very strategic. It wasn't very profitable yet, but five years down the road, it was going to matter a lot to the organization.
My team had a short-term goal of driving profits. That was in conflict with spending time in the strategic business unit. We tended to want to spend our time driving profits in the profitable business unit, and that created a tension between us and the team that wanted our services. The way we de-conflicted it was we agreed on fixed bandwidth. We told the strategic team you would get X number of hours of support from our team, so we limited how much we invested in them, and we got to spend the rest of our efforts on that profitable business unit, and drive our goal of overall profitability.
When you run into situations where goals are in conflict, step it up a level, ask what's more important at that higher level of the organization, and pick the appropriate goal. Then figure out if you can come to some compromise between the conflicting goals so you're able to drive both of them to a certain extent as appropriate.
Along with providing guidance on how to link individual employee goals to organizational strategy, Mike walks you through the different types of goals, including bottom-up, zero-based, commit, and stretch goals. He also helps you use goals to change behaviors, build new skills among employees, and make goals actionable by using incentives and tying them to specific activities. He concludes with a comprehensive plan for setting and implementing goals, and some tips on dealing with challenges such as conflicting goals.
- Identifying goals and goal types
- Setting SMART goals
- Linking goals to business strategy
- Building goals from the bottom up or top down
- Creating stretch goals
- Outlining activities and resources to help employees achieve goals
- Reviewing and revising goals
- Reconciling conflicting goals