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Don’t ask me why, but that line, „just floss the teeth you want to keep“, got me thinking about goal-setting inside companies.
Goal-setting is everywhere. Everyone knows it’s the right thing to do. I’ve got to focus. I’ve got to have goals and objectives. I’ve got to communicate these goals and objectives to those around me. We’ve got to get on that proverbial „same page“ and goals are the way.
Problem is, most goals are never met. Goal setting quickly becomes overhead. It takes time with no rewards. People stop believing that goals are anything more than management requirements that have little effect on day to day behavior.
It may seem obvious, but in my opinion, the root of the problem is that people make two big mistakes around goals:
* they set soft goals that cannot be measured.
* if they measure, they measure without reference to competition….
At Excite, we made this mistake in the IM space. The whole category was exploding and Excite’s IM product (called Excite PAL for those historians out there) was getting a lot of downloads. Of course, it was being outpaced by ICQ and Yahoo Messenger, but we were measuring it’s progress relative to internal targets. We probably knew it wasn’t right, but we were letting our excitement over our internal growth cloud our judgement.
Recht hat der Mann!