While in the last lesson we saw the need for goal setting, in the upcoming chapters we want to absorb some concepts related to modern goal setting. Before we start talking about the modern goal setting paradigm, it is important to look at a few characteristics of the traditional one.
If you can observe even one of the characteristics mentioned below in your goal setting process, label it as ‘traditional’ without thinking twice.
Assigning same goals to multiple employees, according to their job titles
Funnily enough, some companies confuse this practice with cascading goals. This may have worked in the industrial era, but in the knowledge economy this backfires. Just imagine – if same goals can be assigned to employees with the same job title, might as well call those goals job descriptions?
No pre-planned feedback meetings, progress updates, check-ins
‘Set & forget’ is the norm. Once the goals are set, neither the employee nor her direct manager bother to connect with each other regarding the progress made. Neither manager provides any constructive feedback nor the employee is serious about trying to achieve the goal.
No clear definitions of success & failure attached to the goal
Quality of deliverables is adhered to, Employee upholds values of the company – these are some of most common goals found in traditional set up. If you look closely, these are meaningless. Since there is no objective measure, they are open to different interpretations.
Goals are evaluated only at the time of annual reviews
This may be a bit similar to the 2nd one, but still very important. Goals, more or less, are treated as a means to do backward looking performance reviews. In the modern goal setting, they are more of a tool for forward looking development.
Do keep in mind that these characteristics by themselves are not what lead to the failure of traditional goal setting. Rather, some of these have been part of successful goal setting processes over the last 2-3 decades. The main difference comes from the change in workplace dynamics due to socio-economic-technological modernisations.
In the next lesson, we will share a handy questionnaire that you can use in assessing state of goal setting in your company. Collect the responses & you will definitely have a starting point to initiate the changes.