Four performance myths get set straight in an article in talent mgt., Sept. 2010 at 12. The author states one as “When employees select their own work goals, their motivation to achieve them is greater.” Not necessarily. Research has shown that “employees willingly buy into assigned work goals if they perceive those who set them as trustworthy and credible.” My background favors “buy in” and “bubble up the from the bottom” but top-down goals also have efficacy.
That said, the research finding makes sense. A credible goal set by a respected general counsel can send the troops energetically over the top. Let’s close 20 percent of the pending cases this quarter; let’s apply for 25 more patents than the past average; let’s choose and install a contract management system by June 1st – charge!