Embrace Change When Setting Annual Performance Goals

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Embrace Change When Setting Annual Performance Goals

Over many decades, we have become accustomed to all levels of management reminding us to report our annual results compared to the objectives set at the beginning of the year.  After all, many companies tie compensation to the results of the current year that were submitted and approved by levels of management earlier in the year. But the process was fundamentally flawed.

Senior executives wanted aggressive plans while the supervisors and office managers set goals that would be easily attainable. Once approved, the plan is stored away until we are asked to provide quarterly or semi-annual results to date. Everyone feels good, and perhaps the percentages of the results may have marginally increased.  Until I became a plant manager at Unilever and Vice President of the Supply Chain at Bath & Body Works, creating annual business plans and goals was more about success rather than improvement.

It became obvious to me that traditional annual business plans and goals were limiting the ability of all employees to find ways to improve their work environment and productivity. I read many books and was impressed with Toyota and its “Just In Time” manufacturing process. Why couldn’t that process work in a personal care manufacturing facility?

Change may be difficult, but it’s necessary to survive. As people became more comfortable with some of the changes, not all of them yielded the desired outcomes. When that happened, the change process slowed, and employees began to think that they had failed. It was obvious that the system and process failed, not the employees. We began to celebrate process failures and rewarded employees for uncovering the root cause of the problem(s).  Productivity increased and costs decreased. All that I had to do was to be a cheerleader for change and support innovation and risk taking.

As you develop your own annual plans for 2024, include as many people as possible. They know the problems that exist and only need encouragement to implement better processes. Additionally, artificial intelligence will continue to play a pivotal role in the future of administrative support, planning and accounting. Follow the thought leaders whether in your industry or in different industries and ask yourself if it is applicable to your business. The potential is exciting.

This is your chance to reinvent your company. Change is coming rapidly whether your company is prepared or not. The question is simple. Are you willing to take the risk? While AI develops, there is a great opportunity to improve your processes, increase profitability, and provide better products and customer service than your competitors.