SPEED BUMP Dave Coverly Set Goals That Won’t Backfire Motivational gurus and management experts alike are fond of emphasizing the importance of goals, but you have to set them carefully or they can backfire on you and your organization. Here are some common pitfalls to watch for: • Inflexibility. Clear and concrete goals are good, but they shouldn’t narrow your team’s focus too tightly. Launching a product on July 1 may be your goal, but you don’t want to rush through something that doesn’t work just to meet an artificial deadline. Be willing to adapt as circumstances change. • Short-term obsession. Deadlines should be ambitious but reasonable. It doesn’t do much good to hit a sales target one quarter if your sales force has to make promises it can’t keep in order to close deals—future sales will be more difficult later on. Learn to balance immediate needs with future prospects so today’s success doesn’t become tomorrow’s disaster. • Excessive pressure. Goals should stretch people, but not to the breaking point. Pushing workers to accomplish aggressive objectives can tempt them to cut corners or make dangerous decisions. Keep lines of communication open so no one feels compelled to risk safety. The Peppa Effect There’s an interesting phenomenon sweeping across the United States: Toddlers and young children are speaking the Queen’s English. “Mom” and “dad” have been replaced by “mummy” and “daddy.” Children are asking to go on holidays, referring to money in pounds, and saying that they want to do things “straight away.” Sometimes there are snorts and oinks interjected in their speech. Most of this is being chronicled on Twitter under the hashtag #PeppaEffect, because it turns out a pig named Peppa is behind it all. Peppa Pig is an animated character on an eponymous children’s show from the United Kingdom. Episodes air on cable channels worldwide and are available on YouTube. Each segment features a new adventure with Peppa Pig and her animal friends. There’s a website with short videos and activities, so if your kids have access and screen time, there is a good chance they will encounter Peppa and fall under her influence. All of this is quite normal, really. (Say that with a British accent.) Research suggests that children begin to develop their accents around the age of 20 months. For fans of the show ages 2 to 5—Peppa’s main demographic— their love of the character and delight in her antics inspire them to mimic her behavior and language. They don’t even recognize Peppa’s accent as being different from their own. “ Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. ” —Warren Bennis Managers Support Workplace Safety Safety in the workplace is everyone’s responsibility, but managers have to do their part to ensure their workforce stays healthy, whatever industry they’re in. Here are five pieces of advice from the EHS Today website for creating an atmosphere dedicated to everyone’s well-being: • Champion safety from the top. You and your fellow managers should talk about safety issues often. Your senior executives should, too. When employees see their leaders taking safety matters seriously, they will, too. • Conduct safety surveys. Don’t wait for employees to bring up problems and concerns. Survey them about potential hazards in your workplace, and ask for suggestions on how to make work safer. • Huddle before shifts. In a manufacturing or retail environment, it makes sense to meet briefly with your team before the start of every shift to check in on what’s happening that day, ask whether employees have any safety concerns, and issue instructions for staying healthy and safe. • Talk one on one. Make a point of talking to employees individually—not just during their performance reviews, but as often as possible. Ask about any concerns they have. Then act on them. • Perform ongoing training. You can’t just spend a few minutes on safety training during orientation and expect it to stick. Provide regular training to reinforce safety skills and teach new ones—when you get a new piece of equipment, for example.