In a previous blog: Growing your Business… Are your people coming with you? Ruby Usman discussed issues around the alignment of organisational objectives to its people, processes and systems. I enjoyed that blog and a favourite buzz phrase from my university days came to mind that I love using whenever I get the chance – “Goal Congruency”.
The reason I love the term “Goal Congruency” is because it’s often an issue for so many businesses. And it sounds cool (remember I am an accountant so my version of ‘cool’ is warped ). SME’s and large corporates often have serious issues aligning the activities of staff at all levels to their mission, vision, and strategic objectives.
One example I’ve seen was that of a flawed incentive program, where sales managers were paid commissions to reach a set target – very common, right? However, once they reached the target, they constantly tried to manipulate additional sales revenue to push it into future periods in order to get a jump start towards their next bonus. This is hardly in the best interests of the organisation.
Another example is the situation where a company wants to gain market share while maintaining net profit margins, however the communication to the sales team is to do whatever it takes to make additional sales and win new customers. This can lead to making unrealistic promises to customers that can’t be kept, and selling at discounts that cut into margins.
There is no doubt that achieving Goal Congruency is a fine balancing act for every company and is a constant work in progress. So what can be done to help employees to be goal congruent?
Understanding employees at all levels is imperative to make sure your organisation delivers a consistent and accurate message from the board room all the way to the end customer.
Implementing a fully integrated Enterprise Relationship Management (ERP) system with relevant controls to guide employer behaviour and manage risk is an important step towards achieving goal congruency. One of the initial stages of an ERP implementation is to review the company’s operations and activities to ensure they are working in an efficient and effective manner. It may also be wise to keep an ear to the ground during these reviews to ensure that none of the operations and activities limit or inhibit the organisation’s ability to reach its goals and objectives.
The culture of an organisation plays a big part; previous blogs have referred to the strong culture at Fenwick Software. Everyone at Fenwick understands our core cultural guidelines as outlined in a previous blog by Peter Fenwick. Empowering our staff and removing red tape and bureaucratic processes means faster response times and quicker issue resolution, resulting in happier employees and happier customers. This has helped us to achieve goal congruency.