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Dave Norton on Targets and Performance

Posted February 6, 2013 3:29 AM by Dylan Miyake

In my 15 years working with organizations on implementing the Balanced Scorecard, targets have always been a challenge.  While critical, targets (especially non-financial ones) are often a guessing game -- should we do last year plus 10%?  15%?  5?  No, wait -- what's our sector benchmark?  Should we go for best practice or average?  And how do we even make a target for that anyway?

I've seen (and even participated in developing) scorecards where fully half of the measures didn't have targets.  Or if they did, the targets were "baseline" -- code for we don't really know what the target is, so we'll punt this down the road a bit and see how we do.  And then make targets later.  Which, like many compromises, is sometimes the exact right thing to do.  And sometimes the exact wrong thing to do.

Fortunately, Dave Norton will be speaking at the Mission Possible:  The Mission-Driven Management Summit 2013 on targets.  In his presentation (which  I had the great fortune of previewing this week), he'll discuss the many different ways that organizations set targets, and present some tools which we can use to make the process of setting targets more transparent, and more importantly, more effective.

Not to spoil the presentation (which I assure you is great), but Dave focuses on two areas:  The BHAG target (big, hairy, audacious goal) which, ironically, is the lag indicator, and the driver measures that help you understand whether or not you are on your way to accomplishing your BHAG.  With examples from throughout the public and social sector, Dave makes a strong case for effective target setting.

Join us in Washington, DC next month for this presentation and other great speakers and cases to learn how you can execute your mission for breakthrough results.