Do You Need Business Goals?

October 21, 2009

Do We Need Goals?

Do We Need Goals?

A thought provoking article at SlowLeadership titled; Do You Need Clear Goals?

In that article, the author presents a great argument that goals can actually be more detrimental than beneficial to our strategies. As one example; setting goals can lead to a tunnel vision on that goal, ignoring any other factors that may be occurring within our business environment. In the authors words;

Flexibility and goals don’t mix

I am of two minds on that concept.

First, I can agree that when goals (and more specifically, their rewards) are too short term and structured, abuses like we have been seeing on Wall Street are going to happen. Because you do get what you pay for.

On the other hand, as a manager in a SME, I don’t believe that we can just write off goals completely as we try to execute our strategies. (herding cats springs to mind )

Without goals it becomes difficult to find metrics. Since metrics are goals. Performance measurement relies on setting, and monitoring, measurable objectives.

Can we set any measurable objective with no goals?

The SMB Takeaway

I definitely agree that we must not allow tunnel vision to block out the sidelines around us, but if we are not aiming for those goal posts, what are we aiming for?

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Photo Credit KTDEE via flickr

5 Responses to “Do You Need Business Goals?”

  1. […] Do You Need Business Goals? « A Dime a Dozen Small Business, Tech and Talk – view page – cached A thought provoking article at SlowLeadership titled; Do You Need Clear — From the page […]

  2. Gwyn Teatro Says:

    Hi Elliot,

    I’m thinking, like you , that it is important to have goals. And it is important not to get too fixated on them.
    It seems to me that as we go through any process, we have to keep our eyes open for new information that might impact the validity of the goal we are trying to achieve. Otherwise, we might find that while we have achieved the goal, as stated, it has failed to address the over-arching purpose for which we set it in the first place.

    A thought provoking post! Thanks for getting me thinking 🙂


    • elliotross Says:

      Thank you Gwyn!

      I believe that. I would also admit that we cannot be married to a particular goal; the future is unknown, and unknowable!

      We may need to adjust, tweak and modify.


  3. itorganization2017 Says:

    As ever, Elliot, you have chosen the pragmatic path. When I first saw the title of this post, I was going to take issue with you (and/or the original source) but I see you have navigated the more balanced approach. Goals are essential to focus, for acknowledging achievement,for filtering out things that need not be done, etc. On the other hand, effective leaders must be sensitive to changes and opportunities going on around them. So, as with most management techniques, poorly implemented, or done to an absurd degree, are dangerous traps!

    • elliotross Says:

      Thank you Vaughan!

      My initial reaction was not as pragmatic!

      The old adage of ‘doing things right, vs. doing the right things’ was my main thought.

      You will notice that the original that I quoted was written a little while ago, so I let it stew for a while.

      I know that when incentives come into play – goals must be rigorously watched, as “increase sales by 10%” to a sales rep can easily be “by reducing margin to win the deal!”

      That aside, with out some broad brushstrokes at an absolute minimum, we would all be pulling different directions!


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