Goal-Directed Behaviour and Target-Setting: A New Way Forward

Advocates and critics of target-setting in the workplace seem unable to reach beyond their well-entrenched battle lines. Advocates point to what they see as demonstrable advantages, while critics point to what they see as demonstrable disadvantages. Academic literature on this topic is currently mired in controversy. Neither side seems capable of envisaging a better way forward.

We presented a paper on this important topic to the PMA Symposium in 2010 (since published in Measuring Business Excellence, Vol. 15, No. 3, 2011). It can be downloaded at 10-09-28 PMA Symposium Paper v2.6.

Contact centre survey findings

Everyone knows that contact centre activities are highly measurable, using a plethora of KPIs.

Yet little is known about where contact centre managers currently see themselves in the important field of performance measurement and management (PM&M) on a spectrum from poor to outstanding.

Nor is much known about future aspirations or intended timescales for improvement.

So, Simon Povey and I (at Landmark Consulting) and Paul Weald (at ProtoCall One) worked together to design and analyse a specifically tailored survey, based around Landmark Consulting’s PM&M maturity model for contact centres.

A brief summary of our findings is at PM&M Brief Survey Findings.

Details of our maturity model and the survey qeastions are at PM&M Self-Assessment Questionnaire.

Performance Measurement and Management in Contact Centres

Everyone knows that contact centre activities are highly measurable, using a plethora of KPIs.

Yet little is known about where contact centre managers currently see themselves in the important field of performance measurement and management (PM&M) in terms of excellence on a spectrum from poor to outstanding.

Nor is much known about future aspirations or intended timescales for improvement.

Alan Meekings and Simon Povey of Landmark Consulting and Paul Weald of ProtoCall One worked together to design and analyse a specifically tailored survey, based around Landmark Consulting’s PM&M maturity model for contact centres.

A brief summary of our findings is at PM&M Brief Survey Findings.

Details of our maturity model and the survey questions are at PM&M Self-Assessment Questionnaire.

Target-setting paper published in Measuring Business Excellence

The advocates and critics of target-setting seem unable to agree on any common ground.

On the one hand, there is incontrovertible evidence of the damaging effects of arbitrary numerical target-setting. Yet, on the other hand, there is a significant body of academic evidence supporting the benefits of goal-directed behaviour.

We have developed a paper showing how these fundamental contradictions can be resolved by taking into account seven important points:

(1) Understanding the typology of targets;

(2) Clarifying the terminology used;

(3) Distinguishing between differing uses of measures;

(4) Adopting a systemic perspective;

(5) Acknowledging the unknown and unknowable;

(6) Charting performance; and

(7) Differentiating managerial time spans of attention and added value from front line to boardroom.

By adopting the approach we propose, it is possible to secure all the benefits of goal-directed behaviour with none of the problems typically associated with target-setting.

An updated version of our draft target-setting paper (as published by Measuring Business Excellence, Vol. 15, No. 3, 2011) is now available at PMA Symposium Target-Setting Paper v1.4.