In a financial services organisation managers learned that giving staff targets to up-sell and cross-sell actually made sales worse.

Staff would cherry-pick calls to make the sales targets, they would pass-on customers for whom they would be unlikely to make a cross-sale or up-sale and they would even avoid selling customers something they wanted if it didn’t help them make their cross-sales and up-sales targets!

By removing all targets and changing the system, managers achieved a 40% increase in sales.

Another way to look at this is to realise how management only acted against the purpose.