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Little Find

Transparency and open debate : two ways to avoid disaster

Could management guru Peter Drucker ever have imagined that in 95 percent of organizations, employees would end up focusing on individual or collective goals? This practice is now so entrenched that nobody bothers asking the question: does it really work?

Conventional wisdom states that your goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound)And there’s the rub: while it’s possible that everyone will hit their targets, the chances that the organization’s objective will disappear over the horizon are far from zero. Why? Because objectives can guide the execution of a strategy only if they are aligned with the strategic priorities, factor in interdependencies across departments, and enable course corrections as circumstances changeAnd objectives shouldn’t just focus on incentives or be set on a one-on-one basisA team from MIT has carefully examined an alternative approach that has been introduced by Intel, Google, and Anheuser-Busch InBevThe researchers analyzed the strategic excellence and execution of each company based on four criteria known as FAST: goals that incorporated frequent discussions and were ambitious in scope, measured by specific metrics, and transparent for the entire organization. For instance, they analyzed the data of over 600,000 objectives, which showed that the advantages of transparency far outweighed the disadvantages for all the relevant teams and individuals in any organization 


In short, although successful individuals set ambitious and specific goals, successful teams make their goals transparent and discuss them frequentlyTo find out how FAST you are, take the interactive test that the MIT researchers have developed. 


To go further With goals, FAST beats SMART by Donald Sull and Charles Sull, MITSloan Management Review (5 June 2018) 

Take the Quiz How FAST are your goals? 


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Françoise Tollet
Published by Françoise Tollet
She spent 12 years in industry, working for Bolloré Technologies, among others. She co-founded Business Digest in 1992 and has been running the company since 1998. And she took the Internet plunge in 1996, even before coming on board as part of the BD team.