Objectives, targets, and goals.

I get paid to write reports. The target for submitting these is 28 days. My average is 13 days. The regional average is 11.5 days. Seems to me that our performance is pretty good.

We are told the target is likey to come down to seven days. The reason given is that 28 days is excessive. No one has been able to articulate why 28 days is considered excessive. I’ve been informed that a quicker turn around is a mark of an effective organisation.  The fact that most reports are submitted within less than half this time seems to have been ignored.

A 28 day target provides a useful buffer. A psychological comfort zone. An aid to keeping stress levels in check. Room for flexibility in managing workload and additional task allocation. Time for reflection and fine tuning. With a 7 day target there is none of this.

Macho target setting is short sighted and potentially distructive.  It will add little if any value. It will though no doubt tick a box on someones performance development plan.

I will play the game. I will adapt. I don’t have a choice. I have a family that depends on me to do so. Will it in anyway improve the quality of my work?  Of course it won’t.

3 Comments

  1. Checkbox management… grrr. One of my greatest bugbears. Oh, and target culture too, of course. But the less said about that the better, unless you want your comment box filled up with a mouth-frothing rant on its idiocies 🙂

    Do you read the Slow Leadership blog? You might have seen it popping up occasionally on my Tumblr blog, I quote from it every so often. If you’re not already following it, I think you’d like it.

  2. Hello Hg. It was the Slow Leadership blog that prompted the post which I did find via Hydrgnc. Thanks for that.

    For every post on Slow Leadership I could give an example of poor practice in action. I mentioned it to my manager the other day and sent them a link. Sadly though it’s a very top down organisation. No one owns any decisions that are made. Though the *executive management team* makes a big deal of *consultation* in reality it’s impenitrible and unwavering in imposing it’s will on the rest of us.

    Perhaps a comparison with the Bay of Pigs is a little too dramatic but the flavour of groupthink is pretty much the same.

  3. Over the past three years I’ve gone from being a very small cog in a very large corporate machine to being a freelancing sole trader who works with other sole traders and small businesses.

    One of the most significant changes I’ve experienced is how much easier it is to discuss problems and issues in that context. And how much more quickly and effectively decisions get made.

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