Daily Archives: 21/05/2009

Targets encourage under-achievement

How many people have targets as part of their career? Probably most of us do.

How well do they motivate staff to achieve the productivity required?

Let me suggest that setting targets can actively encourage under-achievement within your organisation.

I know it may seem like just semantics but wouldn’t “minimum requirements” or “minimum numbers” be better than “targets”?

By definition a target is something to set your sites on and to aim at, where close enough can be good enough. For example if I have a sales target of 100 new policies per month, I will aim to achieve 100 policy sales. I am not encouraged to sell more than the target, as the target may be shifted next month. There have been many occasions where people have over achieved then the actual figures have been the new target for the following month. The staff member will eventually feel like they are never able to reach their goals because they keep moving.

Now there may be rewards for over achieving, but these rewards are elusive when the goalposts keep moving.

Minimum achievement levels would be a better way to enforce standards, because the staff member knows what the basic requirements are. Get staff members to set their own personal targets over the minimum based on their ability and capability to achieve them.

There is a saying that if you aim for the ceiling you’ll miss it but if you aim for the sky you will travel so much further.

These minimum levels should also be realistic both for the staff members level and ability and in line with the company’s productivity guidelines.

You will have an assurance of the level of productivity and your staff will receive the encouragement and personal satisfaction to achieve their own and the business’s goals.

Happy motivated staff will produce far better results than frustrated ones not wanting to achieve greatness because they fear that will move the goalposts.

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