On target for a toxic workplace culture

A young woman using a sextant to illustrate the idea of setting targets to create a good workplace cultureSetting clear and bold targets has become part of leadership 101. We take it for granted that the first action for anyone taking over the helm of a business or team is to state or re-state targets. The rise of “management by objectives” in the 1970s drove the initial focus on target-setting and, in line with shoulder pads and lapel width, the 1990s saw a shift in management culture to ‘bigger is always better’. In 1994 Jim Collins and Jerry Porras wrote their highly influential best seller Built to Last. In it, they memorably wrote of the power of BHAGs – big, hairy, audacious goals. Targets were no longer for hitting but represented something bigger, a longer-term vision of the future.

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