Managing quality goals

People do like to change,
but not to be changed.


Peter Drucker was one of the very first men who wrote about the importance of goal setting, which he wrote about in his book The practice of management (1954). He introduced the term “Management by Objectives” (MBO) and described them using the following principles:

Principles for Management by Objectives

  1. Cascading of organizational goals and objectives
  2. Specific objectives for each member
  3. Participative decision making
  4. Explicit time period, and
  5. Performance evaluation and feedback

However it took another forty years before the fifth principle, Performance Evaluation and Feedback, became universally operational.

The importance of objectives

People change without realizing that they’re changing.

The foremost part of our thoughts and actions are determined by our subconscious. Thus it’s of most importance to communicate with each other clearly and to be open about mutual expectations from time to time.

Human beings like to develop out of nature. The Stone Age didn’t stop due to a lack of stone; it was mankind itself that decided to progress.
In an organization, the management team would take the role of guiding the employees in order to enhance their development, which the employees would be expecting.

Employees are eager to develop.

Goal setting 

One of the most important hindrances in realizing goals and actions is the human tendency to talk extensively about a subject and to consider this as something to be done.

Obviously, it creates a good feeling to spend attention and energy to a subject, maybe the meeting lasted the whole day. By discussing a certain problem, a direction will be chosen which in itself is inspiring. Eventually something has to be done and somebody has to do something. Passivity doesn’t suit leaders.

True leaders are action focused, target oriented, pragmatic, decisive and assertive without embarrassing others. We all know how difficult it is to release the past; we tend to use our memory instead of thinking ahead.

Setting goals means taking action which suits true leaders.

Quantity Goals (Ratinal): goals Measurable by the use of numbers and a fixed timeframe.

Quality (Emotional):  goals Measurable by visible solutions and by (personal) action.

Quality goals (do’s and don’ts)

  1. Fairness: What people say sometimes has little influence on what they actually do.
  2. Be positive and future focused.
  3. Transparency: Check if everyone is actually talking about the same matter (more people = more different perceptions)
  4. Clarity: The coached person has to be the owner, feeling responsible for own personal development (helping to motivate himself).
  5. Be careful for the Peter-principle (progressing until one reaches ones’ incompetence)
  6. Solutions and agreements have to match the (core) competencies of Heineken.
  7. New directions have to fit with the ambition of employees.
  8. Be aware for the “Activity trap”. Managers are often so involved in the daily practice that they forget their main purpose: Realizing Objectives.
  9. Realize that new behavior takes time.
  10. Be demanding and positively provocative in setting new goals (helps employees to jump over their own shadow)

Creation quality goals​

1. Actual Situation

The greatness of mankind starts
when he is able to see himself like he is.

If there is no agreement about the starting-points then there is no point in making plans. Furthermore, we have to take into account that a lack of self-knowledge is a flaw for employees and managers. In other words: if the perception from oneself is different from other peoples’ perceptions, it is of great importance to align everyone’s perception.

Confront with the factual performance from a real situation. 


“Which examples are you referring to?”

2. Future Situation

If you can dream something
you are also capable of making it happen.
Walt Disney

In this step it is important to match desired competenties with desired personal growth of employees.

It’s important to define these (future) goals in a qualified and in a quantitative manner. Furthermore, be realistic and avoid goal settings with extreme enthusiasm.


“What would you like to achieve?”
“Why is that important?”
“What should this lead to?”

3. Speak about the result of change.

S.M.A.R.T – Goals

Only a goal which has been properly defined will contribute to the performance of employees.

Who does not know the SMART–model: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time related.

SMART is a good model which also needs some essential additions to be useful in performance review discussions.
Those who take a critical look at the model will discover that something is missing.

Performance- and Coaching discussions are definitely not a summary of rational data, but a conversation about employees’ visible behavior.
Herewith we enter into the essence of the significance of quality goals.

Quality goals will be visual by successful behavior.

4. Quality (performance) goals

A small certainty is better
than a big emptiness
Leonardo da Vinci

If there’s a discussion to picture the actual- and future situation, the completion process by quality (operational) goals will proceed efficiently. 

Now it is the time to solidify how changes will be implemented. Talking to someone about the motivating intentions can be avoided only by focusing on concrete tasks.

Discuss exactly how and what one is going to do (the appropriate performance indicators)


“What will you do?”
“How do you want to achieve….?”

5. The execution of quality goals

The most dangerous thing in the world is to
jump a canyon on the second try

Change is for most people a burden. To be motivated is often insufficient to fulfill the desired performance. Creating a deeper understanding about the background of competences will definitely result in a more target focused mind-set. This approach will channel the motivation of employees towards the most important objectives and will turn motivation into passion.


“How will our agreements influence your performance?”

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