Your Business

Control Your Business Targets And Not Vice Versa

Setting your business targets can help you focus on what you want to achieve but it can also damage just as much as it can inspire.

Targets can be great – helping you understand where you are going and how to get there.

Business management trainer, Jean Gamester of Semaphora, advises on how companies can take control of their targets and not vice versa.

Here are Jean’s top tips:


1. Purpose Driven Targets

Ask yourself these questions – What is your organisation’s purpose?  Does your target serve or distract from it?  Are you prepared to take control of these targets?

If a growth driven business ignores customer retention in its relentless pursuit of growth, they will struggle to achieve their purpose, because their energy goes into getting more customers. 

2. Stretching Your Targets

If you allow your business to be controlled by its targets that are not particularly stretching, you limit the extent to which your firm can grow.

Set targets that rewards effort and learning, taking into account your company’s past performance and its current situation.  

3. Push Forward Instead Of Holding Back

Some companies hold back their achievements, like sales or production levels, because they’ve already fulfilled the quota for the current period. 

They want to make it easier to deliver results in the next period. So their records of achievement doesn’t reflect what really happened – only what was registered. 

By holding back registering your business achievement, you are holding back achieving. 

Your Business
Taking control, moving beyond those targets and inspiring others.

4. Taking Additional Steps Rather Than Giving Up

If the targets are too stretching and doesn’t reward effort or growth – your employees risk becoming despondent and giving up. 

Instead, evaluate what you can do to move the business closer to its target, to record and celebrate taking extra steps.

Every world record in sport looks unachievable before it’s broken. After that lots of people break that barrier because someone has proved that it can be done. 

5. Going Beyond Target Competition

I’ve witnessed a number of organisations deliberately setting up teams to compete against each other. Unfortunately, the teams get caught up fighting their colleagues instead of serving the business purpose and its customers. 

They withhold information, resources and learning in case they are beaten by their colleagues. Instead of encouraging competition, reward your people for collaborating and sharing knowledge.

6. Taking Control Of Targets and Not Vice Versa

Whether you’re in charge of target setting or it’s done by someone else, you have a choice about it distorting your behaviour.

Dig deep and work out what the business really wants to achieve, and evaluate where it is against its objective. Then determine how you will act, learn and collaborate to reach it. 

If the targets helps, great.  If it’s distracting, work around them, challenge and change them.

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