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Achieving Goals through Management Systems

Aug 17, 2007
Many leaders understand the importance of achieving goals, but have little skill at motivating their subordinates to meet these goals. Often leaders in this position end up blaming the people they lead. Most often the fault lies with the leaders in ability to focus effort toward a specific result. Achieving goals is the responsibility of the leader. The other people in the organization are following the leader, so if he is unable to motivate them to achieve goals, the fault lies with him.

A thriving leader finds ways to focus effort toward their desired results. For example, the factory manager knows that they want to lower the number of accidents, but having fewer accidents is a fairly abstract concept. However the number of days since the last accident is a very concrete idea that is easy for everyone to grasp. It helps measure the concept of having fewer accidents in a way that is easy to comprehend and measurable. Many factories have found they can lower the number of accidents simply by making people cognizant of how well they are doing toward achieving the goal.

The difficulty is to find proper thing to measure. Sometimes managers choose the wrong thing to measure and end up creating more problems than before. If your team is supposed to be pro actively fixing issues before they become problems, you don't want to measure the number of problems they fix because then there would be no incentive to fix things before they become problems. In fact there might be and incentive to create problems in order to fix them so they look good.

There was an IT department where the manager decided to measure the number of trouble tickets they closed each week. This metric was used as part of the employees' performance review. However, if everything was running just fine with no problems, there were no trouble tickets to close.

The employees began shutting down networking equipment for 10 minutes at a time, so users would open a bunch of tickets. Then they would turn the equipment back on and close all of the tickets. This increased the metric used for their review.

If an IT department is functioning well, the number of problems from system outages will be very low. The manager basically created problems because problems were what was being measured. Instead of making things better he made them worse by measuring the number of problems instead of measuring how well everything was working.

Making the metrics visible keeps people focused on the desired results. A skilled leader can identify the measurements of success and come up with innovative ways to make those metrics visible and easy to understand.
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Please visit www.leadership501.com to find out more about management systems and other leadership topics.
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