Throw out the annual target setting scheme, it’s disconnected to strategy anyway.

Again and again, we wrestle with the disconnect between strategy and our performance measurement systems.

Often our strategy is aimed at lofty and aspirational goals such as growing our business profitably and sustainably. However, we we sit down to define our annual targets we start to get into a negotiation process of what those annual goals are. On occasion, we argue (validly, of course) that this coming year’s goal will need to be softer than before – because the market situation is a lot tougher than we expect / our new product launch cycle is running behind, etc. So grudgingly, we agree that this coming year the targets would be softer or lower than the preceding year. As ever, we promise that the year after this, it would be better. Well, let’s see.

What happened to growing our business profitably and sustainably?

This is an example of how current performance measurement systems we implement are so disconnected with strategy at best, and downright value destroying at worst.

Some would argue that we should negotiate harder to reflect these strategic goals into the performance measurements. Unfortunately, this is an exercise that ties up valuable management resource and creates dissatisfaction. Worse, it can create resentment of the original strategic goals because we believe that those goals are impossible. And thus we breed this thinking internally.

This is why such performance measurement systems have to go. What is the solution? I will post about this later. For now, do give me your comments.

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