‘The odds of hitting your target go up dramatically when you aim at it.’ Mal Pancoast
‘Get moving’ programmes have got many people up and active, improving their lives through exercise. With obesity and heart disease on the rise we’re being encouraged to walk up stairs, hop off the bus early or park well away from the supermarket door.
Many of us have started to use watches and fitbits to measure our activity and keep us focused on our daily steps target. Research has shown we can get so hooked on our target that we’ll (literally) keep going that extra mile, to ensure we achieve it.
So are targets good or bad for business?
Well it really depends on the target.
Did you hear the one about the train driver that went straight through every station to ensure he kept to his timetable!
There can be real dangers in target setting. But equally great rewards.
So what makes a good target?
Firstly, a good target will always take you towards your business vision – so you need to be clear about that for starters.
It will be holistic – in the best interests of both your Customer and your business.
You can’t set targets just to improve profit – you’ll probably succeed in the short term, but what will the long-term cost be if you’ve achieved your target by cutting corners on quality?
Equally, you can set targets aimed at driving Customer satisfaction above everything else, but this could cause big problems if you ignore the needs of your business profit.
You want productivity – but if you focus on productivity without any thought for quality, customer focus or value for money, you’ll end up being very productive doing all the wrong things.
You get the gist.
Targets, like your SMART goals, will be challenging, but achievable. You’ll be able to measure them, and celebrate their achievement with the team.
The individuals in your team will have personal targets which lead to the achievement of the bigger team/ business target.
A good target will be a key performance indicator for both business and individual performance – an essential element in both your Planning and your Performance Management Systems.
The very best targets drive your people and your business to excel and give everyone a real sense of achievement – just like your fitbit!
Do one thing: Review your business plans and ask yourself – are my plans a route map to my business vision/ my destination? Do I have targets as key milestones along the way? Is my whole team involved in their achievement?