Goal-Oriented Evaluations

Description Goal-Oriented Evaluations set a goal at the beginning of the assessment period, and measure progress towards that goal at the end of the period. Success comes from meeting or exceeding the goal. Failure comes from missing. Goals are often set 12-18 months in advance. Sometimes the goals can be changed mid-stream due to unforeseen circumstances, but often they are set in concrete.

Goal Oriented evaluations+ tend to drive mechanical behaviors+. If I get rewarded based on meeting or exceeding my stated goals from the beginning of the evaluation period, then I'll focus all my attention on the goals and will ignore any obstacles or opportunities that inevitably surface during the course of the evaluation period. If there's an obstacle I'll patch it in a way that you as an outsider will be unable to see the flaws. If there's an opportunity I'll take advantage of it if it speeds me to my stated goals. I will not readjust my goals based on this unexpected windfall+.

Practice goal oriented evaluations and you get mechanical behaviors. With mechanical behaviors you do not move towards a World Class R&D designation. WIP counting is a form of goal oriented evaluations: you are rewarded by having a predetermined number of products move ahead from one stage of development to the next. Most companies in the pharmaceutical industry can truthfully proclaim they have robust pipelines, or quantities of products in various stages of development. The industry none-the-less is suffering from a dearth of new products now for well over a decade.

Appropriate Uses

The challenge is finding something with which to replace goal oriented evaluations. We need assurances researchers are continually focused on the commercialization+ of their efforts. We need assurances that evaluations do not sink into political evaluations: evaluations based on the political connections you develop during the course of the effort.

Goal oriented evaluations can be fine as long as they are confined to using more-or-less subjective criteria. We retain the meets-exceeds-missed grading structure, but applied to more subjective criteria such as:

  • took advantage of unexpected opportunities
  • overcame unexpected obstacles
  • what have you done for me lately?

When you move evaluations more into the subjective realm, then you move them into the comparative realm. Comparisons across R&D efforts. The behavior fundamentals+ of competition, satisfaction, etc. are crucial to the design of evaluative mechanisms.


Further Reading