Goal Tree – Engage your staff

Even so a Goal Tree provides a pretty good road map, it is not enough to insure the staff will carry out all appropriate actions to achieve the Goal.

Once the Goal has been set and the Critical Success Factors (CSF) defined, the intent must be turned into actions in order to make “it” happen.

Most actions will be carried out by the lower ranking staff and most managers know that even a brilliant logical demonstration and assignment of high level objectives like CSFs are not enough to insure the Goal will be achieved.

What is required additionally is a breakdown of all Necessary Conditions (NCs) and an action plan. The best way, in my humble opinion, is to engage the staff from the breakdown of NCs in order to make them understand the rationale of the whole and be part of it from the beginning.

Three good reasons to invite the staff from early stage:

  1. Prescribed top-down execution is less and less accepted, especially by younger generations (so called Yers or millennials, supposed to be more in demand for understanding the purpose and engagement)
  2. The lower ranking staff are Subject Matter Experts that usually have keener knowledge about what the Necessary Conditions are
  3. Being part of the analysis, the breakdown of NCs and the assessment of the Red/Amber/Green status of them, not only make them describe the rationale, but make them propose solutions and actions. This is a key point to prevent resistance to change.

Prevent the to-do lists for others

When working on the NCs and action plan, a common temptation is to write a to-do lists for other departments instead of concentrating about what can be done in the own perimeter. Conversely, many if not all CSFs will have NCs in many departments.

A CSF stating “quality first pass rate is steadily greater than 98%” is not only for quality control. All department will have some influence on quality:

  • Purchasing for choosing good suppliers, material and parts
  • Logistics for storing all the goods appropriately, avoiding any wear and damage
  • Production, doing right first time
  • Shipping for packaging, handling and expediting with care

In order to make it clear to all heads of departments or staff, I use a CSF/department matrix as the one shown hereunder. For every CSF, each head of department or the team is asked to rank each department impact on the CSF.

A full disc means the department is strongly contributing to the CSF, half a disc means significantly contributing, a circle (not displayed here) is a low contribution and no symbol means irrelevant or no contribution possible.

Once the matrix is completed, the participants are asked to breakdown the Necessary Conditions and later to work out the action plan. With this matrix handy, nobody can claim he/she can do nothing.

If the Breakdown is done department by department, the matrix is complete by the departments’ heads and presented to their staff when breaking down the NCs.

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