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Q: Does goal-setting improve results? ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: Does goal-setting improve results?
Category: Business and Money
Asked by: heavyresearchbuyer-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 28 Feb 2005 15:49 PST
Expires: 30 Mar 2005 15:49 PST
Question ID: 482533
I need examples of businesses improving their results by setting goals
and posting them for others (or at least their employees) to see.

Please don't rely on self-improvement sites. I don't trust their information.
Subject: Re: Does goal-setting improve results?
Answered By: maniac-ga on 28 Feb 2005 18:15 PST
Hello Heavyresearchbuyer,

Perhaps the quickest list of successful / goal setting companies can be found in
  "Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies"
  by James Collins and Jerry Porras
This book compares eighteen "visionary" companies with contemporary
companies in the same general market area. The book has a number of
referenes to source material as well as a number of good charts in the
book showing the relative performance of the visionary companies when
compared to the other ones. This book also describes a number of
concepts that appear to be used by most (if not all) of the visionary
companies such as:
 - BHAG - Big Audacious Hairy Goal
 - "Clock Building" (not "Time Telling")
 - having a core ideology / preserving that core while stimulating growth
 - alignment at all levels (to goals / vision / ...)
Part of the emphasis from this book is that goal setting is not
sufficient. You really have to work it from top to bottom and be
willing to keep the core - even during the hard times.

Some of the companies that were considered "visionary" in Built to Last include:
 - IBM
 - Ford
 - Walmart
 - General Electric
and each of these have succeeded far better than their comparison
companies over a long period ending with publication of the book. Some
of them continue to excel today [10 years after the research was
done], others are looking a little suspect.

I should also comment that there are certainly other management books
out there that advocate different methods to achieve success. For
  "The Goal"
  by Eliyahu M. Goldratt
talks about how setting "goals" at a local level (e.g., Management by
Objectives) can cause problems at a global level. For example, you may
improve the efficiency of use for an expensive machine but end up with
higher costs overall. [yes - it sounds counter intuitive, but read the
book to see the specific examples] Goldratt emphasises constraints in
production (or sales) as the real limits on the profit of a company.
In short, it is perhaps more important to emphasize the "right" goal
than to do goal setting at all.

Other references:
a pretty nice summary / review of "Built to Last".
a general description of "Management by Objectives" and how to set up
effective goals with a good feedback system to follow through.
a recent look back at "Built to Last" and how several of the visionary
companies may have abandoned the principles that made them visionary
and suffered as a result.
the Goldratt Institute, describing his books and the "Theory of
Constraints" that is illustrated by those books.

Search phrases:
  site:edu goal setting improvement percent
  bhag "built to last"
Subject: Re: Does goal-setting improve results?
From: dashserv-ga on 09 Mar 2005 11:27 PST
There is an ebook for sale over at
which has a whole chapter devited to goal-setting and it's results.

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