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Tuesday, October 29, 2013


A great deal has been written about setting objectives and goals, then pursuing them relentlessly.  I agree, in principle, with that practice.  Monitoring progress toward those stated objectives is the obvious and next step in that process, to “see how we’re doing.” 

A painfully common phenomenon of this process is that the monitoring takes on a life of its own, and eventually the whole reason for the objectives/goals (call it the vision) is lost in the process.  We become slaves to the process, and to not the actual desired outcomes. 

When our efforts become focused on the “control processes” and not on the desired outcomes (the vision), we have lost our way. 

For example, I took this picture in the restroom of a store of a well-known international retail chain:

To be certain, this store (and probably the other bazillion in the chain) had formulated a process to absolutely ensure the cleanliness of their public restrooms.  And, as this monitoring tool will attest, that particular restroom should have been squeaky clean.  Any guesses as to what that restroom looked and smelled like?

The trump card for great organizations is first and foremost to have a committed and passionate team in pursuit of the vision.  The data collected around the goals and objectives aligned to that vision should be purely for self-referential purposes, not an outcome in itself.

A company’s, a school’s, a team’s, a family’s brand is its people, no matter how powerful the systems and processes put in place for "quality assurance." 

Only our people can assure quality, regardless of the product or service we're trying to deliver.

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