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When Should Objectives be Reset?

In this video series, Peter Rogers from Mango Global discusses the purpose of objectives. We have gathered compliance consultants from around the world to give some helpful advise to ensure that the objectives you set are effective.

This is the last video in this four video series of compliance conversations around objectives. Check out our blogs or other posts to catch up on the earlier 3 - The question we answer in this conversation is "When should you reset your objectives?"

Check out the video here:

Nicholas, SRM, South Africa

I would look at it from two perspectives,

Sometimes people set a goal, the big drive in Africa for some time, has been zero harm, there's been a lot of consideration around that particular thing.

  • We should reset something when it's not achieving the goal, you need to revisit that particular thing.

    • A reset can take place where the organisation is not finding that particular objective to be effective for the organisation. It's creating underreporting of issues and that would be around where something is not achieved.

I believe one of the critical imperatives is also what the standards require around continual improvement. If we continue setting the same objective, and then achieving it, we're not meeting that continual improvement paradigm; where are we taking the business on to the next level up from it?

I was with an organisation last week, who said,

“We don't let our employees get too comfortable, we've set an objective and they've achieved it, we move the benchmark on further down the road, we don't allow people to become comfortable.’

Andrew, IRM Systems, Australia

Some of our top tips for setting objectives.

  1. Consider the smart objective setting principles, there's plenty of information on Google on those.

    1. Consider early on, how you're going to keep your objective or target. What can you make it proportional to?

We have an example of energy use reduction by 5%, well, if we double our workload or double our staff number, our energy use is going to go up, so how will we be able to manage that kind of situation? Because changes do happen,

  1. Don't be afraid to set quite a challenging target.

We do see customers a little bit gun shy in doing that, but you have to remember you are predicting early on, ‘we hope to be able to reduce energy use by this much’ it doesn't guarantee you will get there.

Auditors can’t give you a non-conformance for not getting there, they're looking to see evidence that

  • you've set objectives,

    • they're measurable,

    • you've got actions and responsibilities assigned and

    • resources assigned to make that happen.

If any of those elements are missing, that what you will get a non-conformance about.

But you can’t get a non-conformance just because ‘we only achieved four and a half percent energy reduction instead of five’. So, go for something that stretches you a little bit, you often get better results.

Chris, FQM, United Kingdom

I'll use an example; recently, in an audit that I did, the organisation had set an objective for a 10% improvement year on year on a certain target. However, they had a significant spike three years ago, and they continue to use 10%. year on year, and it meant that the figures for 2020, the target was not as aggressive or not as tough as what they were achieving back in 2015.

If you set targets, and you see that they're not working effectively for you, and they're not driving you in the right direction, then it's that point in time, as soon as you see that, you should stop, and you should rethink what ultimately, are we trying to achieve here?

This is not about setting objectives to satisfy an external auditor, but to drive your business forward.

Michael, Momentum Safety and Ergonomics, Australia

Well, you don't necessarily need to, if you set good objectives, and they're achievable at the right level, so that they give the company a little bit of a stretch, but not too much, then they can continue on throughout the lifespan of that objective, which might be annual targets, those sorts of things.

I think, if you're finding that something's changed within your company, because the objective looks a little bit too low or a little bit too high, then it is reasonable to do a reset, but it should not be as often or anywhere near as often as the review, obviously.

If we're reviewing monthly, we should never be resetting anything less than six monthly or annually. You got to give yourself a chance to get there and see whether you have been able to achieve those objectives.

I think that's where I fit with that. I don't think we should rule out the changing or resetting of objectives, but we shouldn't just give up either.

Gary, QSM Group, Australia

When the objective has been achieved, then it should be reset.

If you're reviewing your objectives effectively, if it's determined that the objective is no longer relevant or appropriate to the business, that objective that you set, five or six years ago when you were going for certification, it's most unlikely that objective is going to be particularly relevant to the business, six, seven years later

Importantly, businesses change all the time, the laws change all the time. It's really important that the objectives are like a living, breathing animal, in that when there's a major change confronting the business or there's a new risk or opportunity identified, that’s then when an objective could be actually formed and a plan developed to actually achieve that objective. That takes a bit of commitment and a bit of time to actually make that happen but it delivers far better results.

Ben, Total Management and Training, Australia

There's an easy one to start with;

If the objective is achieved or is being maintained, then we should first of all celebrate that success because we've done a great job. And then we should look at that objective and see if we need to reset it to the same standard or potentially even raise your standard to go a little bit further above.

The other reason we might reset an objective is, if it is not being measured correctly, or is not being successfully achieved.

One example of this might be that there's just not buy-in from our team. And it might be because the goal was, unfortunately, difficult to achieve, and we overestimated where we could get to.

In that case, we probably need to come back and do a review or reset of that particular objective, just to ensure,

  • that it's being either explained properly to the team, so they know exactly what their objective is, and why we're trying to achieve it.

    • Or even just looking at the actual objective itself, or how many of that particular thing that we're trying to do, whatever that metric is, and making sure that is achievable.

Remember, it's better to celebrate multiple little achievements, and it is to try and get to one massive goal. That way, the guys can be building up over time, and making sure that their confidence is building as they go towards those goals.

That's just one example of somewhere where an objective may not be working and needs to be reset.

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