Enhancement in goal setting theory: there’s much more than s.m.a.r.t.
In the last 40 years “goal setting” has been studied, analyzed, dissected and we are now all aware that a target must be smart (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound)....
The messages that anger is sending about values
One of the secrets of successful management is knowing people. This is what makes management unique and complex. In fact when you deal with a process, you’re usually in a...
Leadership: build consensus or go your own way?
This post is about using the right words in a proper way and the title is just an excuse to capture your attention about the decision making topic. Indeed the...
Negotiation Emergency Room
When a manager is into a negotiation with a counterpart, some events can make the situation slip into a conflict or, even worse, a crisis. This happens when a part...
Talking about famous business myths
A business myth is a popular belief that has become so deep-rooted in people’s minds, that is commonly accepted without questioning. When a myth is mentioned during a conversation, there’s...
Storytelling: how to and live experiment
In this post I’m going to build a business story from scratch, step by step with the reader. The web offers the golden rules of storytelling for free, in less...
Negotiation style self-assessment: look inside yourself
Negotiation is about people. Books and courses mainly focus on negotiation strategies and tactics, in this post I give some advice on how to “read” or “self-assess” the negotiator, because...
Hiring and managing old people: the silver tsunami
People in the first half of their career are focused on mobility, promotion and salary increases. People in the second half or in the last third are focused on stability,...
Decision making ethical checklist: from theory to practice
You’ve been called to make a decision. Do you ever ask yourself if it’s ethical? And if yes, how can you assess it? Have a look together at a simple...
The effectiveness of individual vs group decision making
Are decisions taken by a group better than those made by a single person? I recently posted about employees micro-participation and the collective mind in action. I confirm I support...
Marketing during the crisis: change perspective
The economic crisis led many companies to cut marketing budgets. It’s not a surprise. Those marketing managers having money to spend, should be wise enough to position their business in...
From middle management to the moon
Identikit: almost 40, loyal to current employer, once upon a talent, never promoted, stuck in the middle management. When I decided to explore the reason(s) why some apparently brilliant people...
Micro-participation and company social networks
Once upon a time there was an intranet. There’s a lot of talking on the web about (corporate) micro-blogging, meaning networks of employees that can participate to their company community...
Storytelling for managers
Storytelling is the last growing and amazing trend. I could provide a good list of (un)official definitions of storytelling, but this one is able to give the meaning in a...
The collective mind in action
I recently wrote about human capital as a distinctive pillar for success. In this post I’m going to speak about the fact that sources of competitive advantage are more and...
In the last 40 years “goal setting” has been studied, analyzed, dissected and we are now all aware that a target must be smart (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound). The idea of creating such a great acronym has helped the theory to spread easily, but the times “they are a changing”, so after many years of real business experience, I reached the conclusion that smart is not enough, mainly for the following reasons:
• Smart is a quality of the target, but also the way the target is established and / or agreed makes the difference; a smart target assigned in an inefficient way is not smart anymore;
• Smart does not capture the behavior needed to get to the target: if the employee achieves the goal by walking on the dead body of other employees, suppliers and customers, is it ok anyway?
• I have seen many departments, functions, managers and employees reaching their smart targets individually, but the company missing its own targets overall.
I do not pretend to update or change the goal setting theory via a blog, but at least let me share with you a few adjustments I would suggest to a friend:
1. Assigned top-down: goal setting is one of the primary leadership and management role, but unfortunately I see that, in many environments, managers ask their employees to draft their individual targets, which are later confirmed or slightly revised. This happens because setting goals for every member of the staff is time consuming and requires a knowledge on the strategy and priorities of the company that often the manager does not know, because his manager is behaving in the same way. Delegating goal setting may appear like an empowerment tool for the employee in the short time, but generates exactly the opposite, disengagement in the long term, because gives the feeling that the company does not have a clear direction. There are several companies that design their strategy and deliver it to the employees in a friendly format, sometimes hundreds or thousand people: this simple exercise helps to know the context, which is a fundamental step to buy in their commitment.
2. Entrepreneurship based: you just need to read a few pages of Drucker to understand how important is innovation and entrepreneurial attitude into management. If you have a look at psychology, it's clearly stated the aim of any person / employee is to express his or her inner potential through work. To make this happen, goals should be designed in a way that leave the employee space to improve his activity or ask for innovation in the processes or in the way the company works. It's not a surprise that real breakthrough innovations do not come from big corporations, but from individuals having a great idea; when companies will start to promote and allocate resources to foster enhancements coming from the base, they will start to have enormous benefits that now they are missing. We always think that targets are aimed at pushing toward a certain direction, but another way of forcing improvements through goal setting is removing undesirable and goal-irrelevant actions and processes. I find this very helpful for staff functions, where targets may be less measurable than in sales or operations.