Ben Martin at the CAE Blog recently put out an idea and invited those of us writing the "We’ve Always Done It That Way" blog to expand upon it. I took the challenge and wrote a post about the tendency in associations to focus on the ends and ignore the means.
When I wrote it, I hadn’t yet read the article in this month’s HBR about overachievers. In the beginning, the article makes some points very relevant to the point Ben and I jointly made:
By relentlessly focusing on tasks and goals–revenue or sales targets, say–an executive or company can, over time, damage performance. Overachievers tend to command and coerce, rather than coach and collaborate, thus stifling subordinates. They take frequent shortcuts and forget to communicate crucial information, and they may be obvlivious to the concerns of others. Their teams’ performance begins to suffer, and they risk missing the very goals that initially triggered the achievement-oriented behavior.
Not only do the ends not always justify the means, the wrong means can end up giving you different ends over time than they did in the beginning.