You rarely hear this frantic question in a traditional work environment.
"What is everyone doing?!"
It's assumed that everyone is hard at work doing...well, something. If you show up at 8:00 am and stay until 5:00 pm, you've met expectations, right?
When you stop using time as a measure of performance, everyone starts scrambling because the majority of people don't know what "the work" is supposed to be.
We're in workplaces where it's okay to meander through the work day, unclear about what you're being measured on and what you 're supposed to be delivering. We're in work environments where HR sends out email after email reminding us to complete our goal-setting activities, and we promptly move that activity to the bottom of our list.
The urgency to set measurable goals in a traditional work environment rarely exists because using time as a measure of loyalty, dedication and good work, in most cases, wins out over evaluation of the actual work.
Until we own our own time and have complete control over how we spend it, goal setting will be just another useless activity that fills our time in the work environment. And, a workforce with clear, measurable goals for each and every person will never happen. Ever!
This is a real-life example:
Pre-ROWE Manager: "We've been working on this strategy for awhile, and I really want you to crack the nut this year."
Employee: "Got it. I'll do my best." ["I have no idea what you're asking for, but if I show up every day, stay late, and come to you next year with something that I think you might like, I should be okay."]
Post-ROWE Manager: "We've been working on this strategy for awhile, and I really want you to crack the nut this year."
Employee: "Great, let's define 'the nut'. How will we know if I've cracked it? How will it be measured? What's 'meets expectations' and 'exceeds expectations' on cracking the nut?" ["If I can get clear on how to exceed expectations on cracking this nut, I can figure out the activities that will get me there and also plan how I'll volunteer at my child's school, coach her basketball team, and take a vacation to Miami."]
Our bet is that most of you have great goal-setting tools at your organizations, but people aren't actually using them. Or, you use them, and then file the completed activity away--and three months later, you scratch your head and say, "Where did I put that completed goal-setting guide?"
Goal-setting is not an activity. Goal setting is not an action on a quarterly checklist. Getting clear on what your employees are getting paid to do, and how to measure it is, and should be, the way. We can't tell you how many times we've heard, "If I let my people control their own time, how will I know if they're working and what they're supposed to be doing?" to which we exclaim, "How do you know NOW?"
Get clear about outcomes. Get clear about measures. Get clear about RESULTS!