When I read books I do something that some of you might think is a bit odd. I have had this procedure since as long as I can remember and until recently, I thought this was something everyone did. I was wrong. What I do is breaking down a big goal into small, manageable steps. The big goal is finishing the book; the small steps I take to reach that goal are the chapters. Of course, almost all books have chapters – the odd thing I do is making sure the length of a chapter before I jump into it. Doing this last night made me think about how companies break down their vision into small, manageable steps, in other words, Goal-setting and KPIs.
Enabling your vision by setting goals
Many people feel lost in their everyday work. They do what they should, but they do not seem to understand why they are doing it and how it fits in the “big picture”. One reason that they feel this way is that there may not be clarity on objectives and that there are no clear goals. After all, it is not likely that anyone would set out on a major journey with no real idea of the
To achieve the visions of the organisation all employees must be aware of how their day-to-day activities contribute to these corporate goals. You cannot do a vision; you have to do the things that enable it, step by step.destination or how you are going to get there.
Therefore, when setting goals you should seek to align employees’ goals with the goals of the organisation. This ensures that everyone is clear about what they should be doing, and how that is beneficial to the whole organisation. For each goal, you need to establish clear targets and performance standards. It is by using these that you can monitor progress throughout the organisation.
What is measured gets done
This is where key performance indicators come into play, and they apply both at the organisational and individual levels. At an organisational level, a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a quantifiable metric that reflects how well an organisation is achieving its stated goals and objectives. An ideal situation is where KPIs are transferred from level to level in the organisation.
If you set a goal around a certain outcome, the chances of that outcome occurring are much higher, simply because you have committed to manage and measure the results.
When an employee’s goal is defined in terms of an organisational KPI, it ensures that what the employee is doing is well aligned with the goals of the organisation. This is the critical link between employee performance and organisational success.
Going back to my books…
“You will, I am sure, agree with me that… if page 534 only finds us in the second chapter, the length of the first one must have been really intolerable” – Arthur Conan Doyle
When I check to see the length of the next chapter I am simply breaking down the process of reading a complete novel. I break it down into something I can more easily manage instead of directly confronting the hundreds of pages in front of me. Finishing the book is something I am determined to do and something I want to achieve. I look forward to all the excitement, characters and stories I will come upon on my journey. But beginning that journey without knowing when my next stop is going to be; well, that is just not my way of getting things done. And frankly, who likes to read a book with no chapters?