I was reading Ron J. West’s new book, Corporate Caterpillars: How to Grow Wings (iUniverse LLC: 2013), this week and came across an interesting tidbit perfect for this time of year. I’m sure many of you are working on your 2014 business plans or goals right now. West briefly shares how one commercial real estate development company attacks this process in a unique way:
“Each year there would be a different corporate ‘theme’ with a single goal shared by everyone in the enterprise. For example, one year the goal to ‘develop accountability’ was established. The second tier of goals was department- and workgroup-specific. Finally, the third tier of goals was specific to each individual employee.”
At first I was somewhat skeptical. How is a brokerage full of independent-minded real estate professionals going to institute a top-down goal-setting regime like that? But then I got to thinking: Maybe it’s just what the doctor ordered.
There’s no doubt that the goal-setting process can be tougher when you add more players. It’s easy to tell yourself you’re going to be a healthier role model for your family by getting up early go work out every day. But forcing the whole group to get up and to go to the gym with you? Probably not going to happen.
Still, if you were to simply share that goal with your family, they’re going to be there to help you stick to it. By involving them in the process of holding you accountable to your goals, they’re now part of your goal. Something is bound to rub off on them, and who knows? Maybe you’ll end up with a work-out buddy or two after all.
Similarly, keeping your company’s goals a secret might be tempting, because no one will know if you fail. But involving your stakeholders in the goal-setting process automatically gives you more hands to help achieve those goals. Imagine the power of having all your teams and every individual in each of those teams on board, coming up with their own goals to support what the company wants to achieve in 2014. It’s scary right now, but a year later you might be singing a different tune.