Goal Tree chronicles – Clarity in objective setting

The action takes place in a big meeting room of a major leader in food industry’s plant. The top ranking managers (about 20 people) are assembled to listen to the CEO’s strategic plan, built on a Goal Tree. I attend as a guest, head of the consultants’ team and support to the CEO.

Goal Tree

It has been a kind of struggle to prepare this meeting, first in restating the Goal to make it more appealing, second to define all Critical Success Factors (CSF), key elements for deployment which were simply ignored by the Chiefs.

The concept of CSF and Goal Tree was unknown to the top executives, which is no excuse for not having defined the necessary breakthroughs and improvements to achieve the Goal, nor thought further how to align all contributions toward the Goal, nor how to cascade top objectives and so on.

The CSF statement had been a story for itself, related >here<

Once the CSFs SMARTly set, it was time to communicate and start cascading.

The CEO made a good speech (thoroughfully prepared) and asked the audience if there was any question. There was none.

Not really knowing how to go on, the CEO announced “Well, Chris will tell you about the next steps” and took a seat.

Bandeau_CH6This part was not really prepared but was no problem though. Facing a majority of engineers asking for pragmatic and practical advice, I summarized the former speech while drawing the Goal Tree live on a board. I drew one box on top for the Goal and four boxes underneath for the CSFs. I wrote each CSF in its box and started explaining what was meant.

One of the four CSFs was to improve customers satisfaction through an OTIF>96%

OTIF stands for On Time In Full, a common KPI to monitor demand management and supply chain performance. 96% means that considering all orders, at least 96% off all order lines should be delivered timely, completely in one shipment. Implicitly at the right location, complying with the specifications, QC passed ok, and all other basic requirements fulfilled.
OTIF> 96% is not very ambitious in this industry, yet from the actual state, achieving this objective can be called a quantum leap.
This company only operates in B2B

When I came upon OTIF, I asked the audience if everybody knew what OTIF is?
Silence.
I know how powerful silence can be and kept staring and waited long enough for the first people uncomfortable with silence to speak up or shake heads.
In the whole audience, only roughly one fourth had an idea about what OTIF is.

I asked the Supply Chain Manager to briefly lecture his colleagues on this matter and we went on with other CSFs.

What this story tell us

What this story tell us is that clarity in objective setting is not only a matter of good wording or complying with SMART objective stating. Clarity is also about making sure people understand what is behind the SMART objectives.

The OTIF CSF was carefully stated, but had we assumed this correct statement to be sufficient for the management to understand and start aligning their department’s contributions on it, we would have experienced some disillusionment latter on.

Furthermore, I was disappointed by the managers’ not knowing what OTIF is and not asking for explanations. But this is another story unrelated to Goal Trees!

This post is part of the Goal Tree chronicles series


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