[Classic post from 11-18-10]
Today is the final piece from the talk several days ago. Yesterday I discussed goals and how I’ve changed my thinking about goals dramatically. Today, I promised to expand on that and how to work with this new type of “goal.”
First off, I don’t think much of goals anymore. I don’t think they are motivators and I know that so many people think they are. It’s okay to disagree. As I said, I’ve set hundreds, maybe thousands of goals over the years for myself and teams I’ve worked with. I’ve met a lot of goals, even exceeded some, and missed a much larger percentage of them.
Missing the goal is always a downer–and the closer you get to a goal and miss it, the worse that feels. I’ll never forget not winning a wonderful trip to Japan by missing the sale of two trucks. The goal was 50, and our team hit 48. Of course, 48 was a stupendous achievement considering our previous sales numbers, and that the factory wouldn’t give us enough inventory, but it didn’t help much. This is what I mean about goals not helping. The next time they come up, people are less interested, not more interested.
They’ve gone from a picture on the horizon to an expectation of achievement and a methodology of sorting the herd. I could go on and on with what I’ve studied and learned and experimented about goals, but suffice to say, I am not longer a fan of typical goals and especially numeric goals.
One of the world’s most celebrated management experts, W. Edwards Deming published his 14 points. It was designed for manufacturing and he was instrumental in helping Japan become a world economic power, but I think they make sense for sales teams, and any business really. In point number 10, he states, “Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the workforce.” Point number 11 states, “Eliminate numerical quotas.”
What you say? Eliminate numerical quotas in manufacturing? Yes. If they can be eliminated there to the benefit of the production, they can easily be eliminated in most other places. Besides, in my own experience, they are not helpful to say it mildly.
So, what to do? I said yesterday that I have now only one goal: to feel good. I am a joy-seeker. What brings me joy? A sense of purpose is one, excellence is another, innovation gets me giddy, laughter softens the sharp edges, effective leadership inspires me, mutual respect is a delight, I am ecstatic with encouragement, excited in enthusiasm, and serving the customer is my mantra.
All of these things are joy creators and all of these things will move the needle whereas numeric goals will not. In fact, numerical quotas are a joke compared to these other qualities, which are business builders. Henry Ford said it well twice: “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” and “A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.”
Deming suggested a few other ways in his points to help this change to success happen: Point number 1: “Create constancy of purpose for the improvement of product and service. and Point number 3: “Cease dependence on mass inspection.” and Point number 5: “Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service.” and Point number 7: “Institute leadership.” and Point number 8: “Drive out fear.” along with Point number 9: “Breakdown barriers between staff areas.” and the last one I want to mention here, point number 12: “Remove barriers to pride of workmanship.” This last one speaks strongly to feeling good, as do the others.
As people feel good about what they do, where they do it, how they do it, the results of what they do cannot do anything but improve. That, after all, is the whole idea behind goals, isn’t it? But, we cannot wait for our bosses, supervisors, spouses or whoever is on the outside of us to get around to learning this, so we do have the power to create all of this ourselves until they finally get it. We need to find ways to feel good ourselves first. The rest will come, or not, and it won’t matter for we will have already made it.
Suffering Is Way Overrated And Totally Unnecessary.
Spread Some Joy Today–Make as long a list as you can of things that help you to feel good. It might be as simple as enjoying a Grande Breve Latte at Starbucks as a treat, or inspirational quotes, or excellent service to a customer. Whatever it is, do it often.