“Meaningless” and “Unrealistic” Targets

One of the news headlines that caught my attention today as I’ve been listening to Radio Five Live on my travels, has been the report that highlights “a culture of fear” within the Met Police, describing many of the targets that were used to manage performance as “meaningless” and “unrealistic.”

My intention is not to judge this particular story, but rather to highlight the fact that I have regularly come across situations where organisations, as well as individual leaders and managers, have been using targets and measures for their own and others’ performance that have been exactly the same i.e. meaningless and unrealistic!

This is not an unusual scenario.

It would be well worth a chunk of your quality thinking time to evaluate whether the things you are measuring and the targets you are setting are the best they could possibly be when it comes to stimulating the activity that is most important for people to be doing.

Why is this so crucial?

Well, the old adage goes, “People do what they like doing and what they are measured on.”

For example, if the managers in your business are only measured (and rewarded) on bottom line results of their project or department and yet you really want them to be investing more in the coaching and development of their team members to increase long-term capacity of the team, there’s a high degree of probability it’s proving frustrating….because the results they are being judged on are different to the ones they are being told are the highest priority. We have an alignment issue.

So, the key questions are:

1) What results do you want?

2) What are the best measurements to encourage and reinforce the behaviour that will drive those results?

Have a great weekend!

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