Friday, February 08, 2008

Managing "Whack-a-Mole" Goals

Wow, has it really been 2 whole months since my last post?? Yikes! Sorry about that folks - but it does highlight the conditions that drive this post, so maybe it's not so bad after all.We've probably all seen or played the arcade game "Whack-a-Mole". It's an annoyingly addictive game. If you've never played it, go here, then come read this post - it'll make a whole lot more sense that way. Really,..... go ahead...... I'll wait.

Now that you've got a sense of the game - lets go on.

The theme here is that the moles keep popping up out of different holes, and at an increasingly fast tempo; the faster you knock the little buggers down, the faster they pop back up. There's no pattern or order to they way they pop up and if you miss enough of them, you lose the game.

Does this sound familiar? It seems to me that business planning is becoming more like this every day. The pace of change continually increases, the markets & opportunities swing at a break-neck pace and the price of missing a business opportunity is potentially devastating..... just like game.

For good, or bad, we have to accept that this is the way things are and that they are not likely to ever go back to the comfortable old way of establishing annual or long range plans and then living by them. Our reality is that things do and will continue to change VERY fast, and our goals will change with market conditions. Those of us who don't keep pace will have a very rough time of it.

Now, apply this theme to goal-setting for yourself and your team. This means that you should consider setting goals with the inevitability of change in mind. This also means that you've got to keep "whacking " your goals continually {read that as reviewing with your business and your team}.

This agile approach will help you ensure you are whacking the right moles at the right time with the right mallet.


YOUR MISSION:
As you set goals for yourself and your team (which I just know you are doing because your are a good manager) make a very clear point that these goals are subject to change and get everyone prepared to review and revise goals often to ensure that your goals are always aligned with the goals of the company.

Carry on!

1 comment:

Teresa Day said...

Though resetting goals is becoming more and more of a common practice, it can easily disintegrate into one of The Seven Deadly Toxins: Revisiting Decisions. When this toxin runs rampant at your workplace, decisions are continually revisited and direction is changed -- always "for some good reason/reaction" to market forces -- but really just a lack of discipline and thorough fore-thought.

It's a fine line sometimes. But the Toxin of Revisiting Decisions means that nobody is every really sure of what they are producing, whether what they are producing will get trashed at the last minute, and that everybody's morale is sinking lower and lower.

I would like to add an alternative mission: spend enough time at the beginning of a project to THINK about the end result, and minimize the amount of Revisiting Decisions going on. The work will be far more productive, and you'll get a lot more passion out of the workforce.

Thanks,
Teresa Day

www.TeresaDay.com