Talking Targets

Communicating about targets is critical. If governments can explain the purpose and rationale behind performance targets, then stakeholders can more easily achieve them. Here are some quick tips on how to talk targets with those who need to understand why they exist, what they mean, and how they can contribute.

Quick Tips

  • Be positive. Targets can feel inherently punitive if not met, so avoid adding to that perception by using phrases that frame targets positively combined with words that place stakeholders in a supportive environment:
    • shared achievement
    • advance together
    • collaborative progress
    • improve as a team
  • Be clear. If governments (and their leaders) can articulate a clear purpose and vision, then it is easier for stakeholders to understand WHY strong targets matter.
  • Be consistent. Avoid confusion among stakeholders by finding ways to consistently message WHY this target matters, WHAT it is connected to, and HOW the organization is going to acheive it.
  • Make connections. When talking to stakeholders about targets, find meaningful connections to their work and constributions. If they can see themselves contributing, then they are more likely to do so.
  • Do not advertise targets that negatively impact your stakeholders. If the goal is to reduce the workforce by 5%, shrink the contracting budget, or increase the number of parking tickets issued to residents – keep that private. Consider finding an alternative way to demonstrate the issue. For example, show a ratio of parking officers to residents in comparable jurisdictions. If there are too many or too few ticket writers, it will be obvious.

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