From the Ask Tom mailbag –
I would like to roll out a goal-setting program for my team. Management by objectives (MBO) is a process where everyone in the company is required to set annual goals. I think it will go a long way toward results based performance.
The big failure of MBO is the focus on annual goals. If you look at the sequence below, you can see that MBO is appropriate for only a small slice of your workforce, and some of the most important goals and objectives are beyond two years.
Goals Framework and Timespan
- S-V business unit president – longest timespan goals – five years to ten years
- S-IV executive manager, VP – longest timespan goals – two years to five years
- S-III manager – longest timespan goals – 12 months to two years
- S-II supervisor – longest timespan goals – three months to 12 months
- S-I technician, production – longest timespan goals – one day to three months
Goals and objectives should cascade through the organization starting with the longest timespan goals first, most often from the CEO. Each successive layer should have shorter timespan goals that support the goals from the layer above. You can also see, based on timespan, that longer timespan goals are more strategic (conceptual) in nature, and that as timespan falls below 3-4 years, those goals become more tactical, below 1-2 years, exclusively tactical.
While we have a general orientation toward marking our lives in annual timeframes, goals and objectives require a more specific orientation in the timespan of each role.