The world changes and when it does, goals should change with it. Staying stuck with irrelevant goals breaks the R in SMART goals, and gets people doing things they shouldn't work on or avoiding things they should do. They'll do what their incentives tell them to do. When there's a valid reason to revise a goal, go through the goal setting process again to do it and let people know WHY you changed it.
- The world changes every day, and when it does, goals should change with it. Staying stuck with irrelevant goals breaks the relevant rule for smart goals. Having an irrelevant goal gets people doing things they shouldn't and avoiding things that they should be working on. You need to recast their goals when appropriate. People will do what their incentives tell them to do. When there's a valid reason to revise a goal, go through the goal setting process again and let people know what their new goals are and why you changed it.
Also, adjust their incentives accordingly. When the world changes, you need to make sure that goals shift with it. I know a financial services firm that was focusing on profitability. Everyone's goals were tied to a profit number and then the world changed. Some regulators came in and evaluated the organization. They put the company on a Memorandum of Understanding for a lack of adequate controls and processes for managing risk.
Until that memorandum was lifted, the company was prohibited from activities like offering new products. That was going to impact their profitability. Many people had their profit goals relieved and set aside. They were given new goals related to getting the MOU lifted. Some goals were things like writing procedures, changing processes, building infrastructure. All of those goals were tied to the broader corporate goal of lifting that memorandum.
If the organization hadn't shifted, given that external event, and they kept everybody focused on their profitability goals, there would've been a problem. That memorandum never would have been lifted, and they never would have hit their profit goals because they were locked down from selling new products. By having the organization shift and revising everybody's goals, they focused again on what was most important corporately, they fixed the issue, and then they moved back to their profitability goals.
When your organization experiences an external shock or things change, like you lose resources or a competitor does something different, step back and look at the goals. Ask if the broader organizational goals have shifted, and if they have, make sure you shift your teams and individual goals accordingly. By doing so, you're going to continue to focus on what's most important for the organization and make sure people are contributing the way they should, and they're getting the incentives for doing so.
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