For many years, when it came to setting goals, organizations took a top-down approach. It made sense: Goal setting requires information of the sort only top-level managers had, and it was their job to make the calls and pass them along to the lower levels of the company. Of course, this approach usually failed to consider the input of many other critical stakeholders, and senior managers were often too far removed from the lower levels of the organization to fully understand how front-line employees create customer satisfaction and value.To overcome this limitation, the sirens of strategic management thinking called for a bottom-up approach. Functional areas of the company would develop their goals, which would provide the foundation for business-level targets, which would then be rolled up into corporate-level goals. Again, this made intuitive sense: Operating employees have the fullest understanding of customer desires and expectations, which ought to form the basis of unit performance goals and, ultimately, the organizational mission and vision. In my experience with various organizations, however, what makes intuitive sense is not always what works in practice.