Monthly Archives: November 2012

Targets – a rod for beating people?

Are you burdened by seemingly impossible targets?  You want to achieve, do a good job but struggle to hit the numbers.

Consider where that target came from.  The outcome of many targets is not within the control of the worker.  They are affected by external factors over which the individual has no control.

Take an ice cream vendor in kiosk at a British seaside resort.  Sales are likely to be heavily influenced by the weather. If it’s a cool wet summer, less people are likely to be around.  Hence less sales.  Yes if the kiosk is on a good pitch this can increase sales, and so will a clean and tidy kiosk.  But if it’s a wet and windy day sales will remain poor.

It’s easy for management to set targets where the results are primarily governed by factors over which the worker has no control.  They cannot change the outcome.

The impact of such targets is to de-motivate.  Gradual spirals of despondency set in with the workers and output falls further.  The result is increased sickness, increased staff turnover.  Performance decreases.

Targets can be dangerous.  That’s all targets, not just sales.