So which are you? Target orientated or business orientated? Or maybe even both? And are they in fact one in the same thing?
To give a quick definition, targets are goals or objectives given to us to achieve whereas business processes are processes given to us to follow. It would then be logical to state that if we follow the relevant business processes and introduce “best practice” we will achieve the targets we are set.
Only this isn’t always the case. It has been observed countless times that targets can cause us to abandon best practices in favour of short term target hitting. Sometimes we move so far from best practice that we wonder whether the target had really been thought out properly at all.
But targets are important as they let us know, in real terms, how we are performing.
And what of business processes? Surely it is always in the best interests of the company for us to follow best practice? Not always. Every now and again (and we emphasis the “every now and again” bit) it may actually be worth deviating from best practice slightly just to hit that sales target. A discount on the last day of the month to get the big sale that will ensure you hit your sales target is genuinely not going to hurt anyone. Just make sure it doesn’t become a culture and you will be OK.
The relevance of targets and how far it can be conceivable to deviate from best practice can impact on senior management too. If a business has an aggressive growth strategy, the ability for those working in operations to be able to hit set targets then becomes vital.
The company may have a business plan that will base its growth on future expected income. If the company is expecting x amount of money in the bank at the end of the year and has a plan to use that money to expand, then hitting targets becomes almost a necessity.
So, don’t think that senior management don’t want you to move heaven and earth to hit a target because they do. But be careful. The moment you deviate away from best practice to get what you want you leave yourself at the mercy of the auditors and your senior managers. So, as in all cases, use your good judgement and find the best path to move forward.
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Best Practice, Business Processes, Management Styles, Management Techniques, Targets