Goal setting challenges

Was reading an article and it got me thinking about corporate goals and how they can have unintended consequences.  The story was about the Navy trying to reduce their IT costs.  The Navy's Deputy CIO issued goals to reduce the number of data centers by 25%, increase server utilization by 40% and boost server virtualization by 50%.

It's not hard to look at those goals and see the underlying real goals...reduce cost.  However, unless the real goal is the real mission people will implement blindly towards the stated goals.  This can cause problems because, from past experience, some systems do not work well in virtualized environments.  However, if that is the only option 'because the boss wants it that way' then bad decisions get made.  Costs can actually go up with much higher support costs, lower end user adoption, etc.

So, when putting out goals, make sure your real intentions are clear and the goals are stated as 'strategies for getting to the goal'.