Why relaxing short-term targets can be good for you

I was recently interviewed by a German PhD student about our implementation of the balanced scorecard. A few weeks later I received a summary of his findings.

Most of the conclusions were familiar: Avoid tracking more than 30 KPIs. Get top management buy in. Think long term.

I was glad to see ‘think long term’ among his recommendations. I’ve always been a believer in the importance of taking the long view. We all know how difficult it can be to strike the right balance between working for a customer now, and spending time on the internal business processes that will make customers happier six months down the road.

But what surprised me was this statement: Managers should expect less from their employees in the short term.

And that’s when it hit me. I’d never realized that in order to focus on the long term, you actually need to relax short-term targets.

I consider this a valuable lesson, and I’ve started putting it into practice right away. I’m choosing to write this post instead of tackling the more pressing concern of achieving my goals for the week ;-).