The art of mistaking means for goals

I often worry when I see companies that mistakes means for goals. It’s a common issue on enterprise 2.0 : “put people into networks”, “share information”, “collaborate” are not goals, they are only means that help to achieve goals. Reduce the time of response, innovate more and quicker, devilver something that exactly meets client’s needs, reusing people’s knowledge are goals

This post [fr] is obviously a good example

Sudden thought during a meeting.

Training’s goal is not the training, it’s the company !

Evaluating the training is relevant only if it measures the impact on the company !

Right said ! It’s one of the consequences of a disease that affects organization, which causes are nearly twins :

– mistaking means for goals

– evaluating a on local scale although the benefits take place on a global scale

It can be linked to my series on the impact of enterprise 2.0 on intangible assets (here, here, here, here and here 😉 ), which may be useful when discussing the ROI of enterprise 2.0. As a matter of fact, even if I’m convinced that a “Soft ROI”, unquantifiable, exists, I don’t think the hard ROI topic is taboo and, on the contrary, I’m sure it exists. No need to complicate the issue : the ROI has to be measured at the level of the business processes that are supported by intangible assets, and strategy maps and BSC indicators make it very easy to visualize.

About training’s evaluation, the goals is not to assess the training in itselfs but its impacts on day to day business, on people’s efficiency. It always make me smile when I see how people can focus on “rating the trainer” although they rarely try to measure the impact on people’s performance. You can have a nice trainer, with whom you’ll spend enjoyable training sessions but who won’t give you anything reusable once back to work. Perhaps even an unpleasant trainer who’ll get a bad evaluation would deliver more useful things and have a bigger impact on business than some nice well-evaluated ones.

It’s the same about communication.The assigned goal is to deliver a message and what’s assessed is its diffusion. But nearly no one focuses on knowing if it has been understood. The only way to assess communication is to enable feedback. Long life to social media, upward chanels and discussions !

Examples of this kind are numerous.

Whatever, this question is very important to enteprise 2.0 because by assessing local things (a project, a function) as if they were their own goal, companies break the link with a benefit that is global.

If it was said that, for example, a project is not a goal in itself but a way to fulfill a need, that communication, training, HR, etc… are not a goal but a mean to reach a higher goal, we’ll be able to prove the ROI and justify projects that the “localist utopia” would not have made possible.

Previous articleLinks for 07/24/2008
Next articleLinks for 07/27/2008
Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler
Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler

Recent posts