Learn what a commit goal is and what you should consider when creating one.
When you set goals, I encourage you to set two kinds of goals. The first is a commit goal and the second is a stretch goal.
A commit goal is something you’re committing to do for the organization. If you miss it, you can get fired. There should be extreme consequences for missing a commit goal. To build your commit goal, work from the bottom up. Work directly with your team and have them make commitments to you as far as what they’re going to deliver for their goals. You’ll then need to reconcile the team’s commits and make sure they all add up to your commit to your organization.
At one point I had three different teams and we were tasked with a major cost reduction project. My boss came to me and asked me how much cost reduction would I commit to removing from the system. I went to my teams and I asked them how much cost they could take out, and I asked them for their goals. They gave me commit goals of one and a half million, two million, and three million dollars, for a total of six point five million dollars that they would commit to.
When I went to my boss, I hedged on that number a little bit and I told him I could commit to six million dollars. Now, he knew better and he knew I was hedging a little and he pushed me on it. He eventually got me to a point where we negotiated and I committed to six point two five million. Over the plan period, we exceeded that goal and we hit seven million dollars of cost reduction. Obviously there were no negative consequences for the team, but the result of having that commit was the entire team was focused on delivering six point two five. We tracked it over the course of the year. It was something that was at the top of our priority list because we knew we had to deliver it to the organization. Our commit was fed into the budgeting process at the beginning of the year and by doing so we ended up with a very accurate budget that people could plan for.
When you’re creating your commit goal, sit down with the team and make sure they understand what they’re committing to is going to have implications. The organization will plan based on that number and if they miss that number, there will be consequences for them and for you. Having that clear commit will drive the focus you need in terms of achieving a goal and making sure that the rest of the organization can plan for what you’re going to deliver.
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