What happens when targets die?

Tell someone that targets don’t work, and it’s like telling them someone had just died.
In a way it has, a small bit of their mind has ceased to be, the bit that made sense of work and how it all works.

Here are the 5 stages of grieving that people go through when their belief in targets die.


*inspired by the bit about Santa in this post here from Inspector Grievous.

This entry was posted in command and control, learning, systems thinking, systemz comix, targets. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to What happens when targets die?

  1. Ha! Good one. Kubler-Ross must have understood the targets problem. Inspector Grievous though??!


  2. Alan Stanton says:

    I use targets because a gang of big boys & girls made me do it. (The Audit Commission)
    These aren’t my targets. Another boy did them and ran away. (I blame the previous Director.)
    If I don’t use targets I’ll cop it from my mum and dad when they get home. (My Performance Management is due.)
    Please Miss, I didn’t mean to cheat. I didn’t know the answer so I looked at Mary’s book and she wrote “targets”. (Follow what the organisation has done before.)


  3. Alan Stanton says:

    As InspGuilfoyle spotted, your use of Kübler-Ross builds the arch of the argument. There really can be llfe after the death of targets. Provided of course that people are open to the new possibilities. And aren’t afraid that suddenly – as in the film ‘Carrie’ – a hand will shoot out of the grave. Holding a fresh set of targets.

    Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about this. And about stuff I’ve been reading on organisations trapped in an apparently endless cycle. Or, more accurately, a recycle. Where chronic problems are met by one or more of the same set of “solutions” which – on the whole – have failed before. Most participants have at least an inkling that this is case. A few people know this only too well and choose to keep quiet.

    “Targets” were and probably still are, one such failed solution. In Tottenham where I live, after the riot of August 2011 there are many others. Including: a new “Cultural Quarter”; Sport and Leisure led regeneration; redevelopment linked to gentrification; and “capacity building”. Like targets, each set of tools or prescriptions has its own bunch of enthusiasts and expert consultants, eager to offer their services. And not all of them cynically, from self-interest, with their eyes on the external aid money flowing in.


  4. Pingback: Five Blogs – 24 September 2013 | 5blogs

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