Set Clear Goals – Succeed

by Mar 15, 2018Alignment

Setting clear goals will do more to
guarantee your success than any other single factor.

— Brian Tracy – Management Guru

Goal Setting Improves Productivity
Clear goals make it easier to understand where to focus and, of course, when we focus on the most important things we are more productive. Latham and Locke wrote some of the most widely referenced material on goal setting and their research shows that setting goals increases performance and productivity by 11 percent to 25 percent. 20% of an average work week is an entire day! Imagine what you and your team could do with an extra day a week to ensure the success of your company.

Company Goals and Team Goals Must Align
At Teamsmith, we talk about 3 types of goals that are important in a workplace context:

Personal Goals
These are goals that you set for yourself that may or may not be directly tied to work. Examples include: learn to surf, make more friends or increase annual salary.

Company and Organization Goals
Company goals are a superset of all of the goals in and around your company broader organization. These are macro-level drivers like: achieve #1 rating in customer satisfaction, launch a key new product, achieve 150% sales growth.

Team Goals
Team goals are the objectives and strategic priorities that your direct organization (the team that you manage) will do to help the company achieve its Company Goals.

Building Strong Team Goals
This section is focused on creating strong team goals and then aligning those goals with your boss. When these two types of goals line up, great things will happen and your career will advance.

Great Goal Setting Drives Great Performance
We believe that the right kinds of goals will drive great performances. Here are some things to consider in fashioning the goals for your team.

Big Picture First
If you want to perform at a high level in the eyes of your boss and your company, you need to understand the goals of the company and of your boss and use those as a starting point for setting your own goals and the goals of your organization. In short, what YOU want, doesn’t really matter in the physics of rising to the top. (more on this later).

Clear, Specific and Measurable
In order to be actionable and easily prioritized, goals need to be clear and specific. A goal like “Improve my health in 2018” is not clear and specific. Try, instead, “Lower my cholesterol by 20 points by June.” Instead of “Make Sales Club”, try, instead, “Close at least 2 new customers per month averaging $25,000 per customer.”

Aggressive but Doable
As it turns out, research has shown that performance improves in a linear fashion as goals are raised. UNTIL, such time that the goals become so outlandish that your subconscious does not believe they are achievable. So, you need to find the sweetspot aiming as high as you can such that your subconscious can credibly believe the goal is achievable. In a war between the conscious and unconscious mind, the unconscious always wins. If you tell yourself you have a goal of selling $1,500,000 in new business and you really don’t think you can do better than 800,000 if everything goes perfectly, you will likely achieve less than if you had set your goal at $900,000 which is a big stretch from your perceived maximum but oddly in reach as well.

Team Alignment and Regular Recommitment
Everyone knows that your team has to be bought into your goals and we all spend time at the beginning of the year or quarter talking about goals with our teams. However, once the battle begins and real life begins to overtake us, the big picture goals fade to the back and human nature has us working on lower priority items that catch our attention or seem urgent. One trick we’ve used in the past is simply starting each staff meeting with a restatement and recommitment of goals. This may seem odd or monotonous over time but it really works solidifying the most important to prioritize. Frequently tell your team, “You all have day-to-day responsibilities but if most of your effort isn’t improving the chance we meet these goals then you shouldn’t be doing it.”

Firm on Goals, Flexible on Approach
You’ll want your goals to be fixed for a while. Sometimes a year is the right duration. Other times the duration should be a week, month or quarter. They should be fixed for a time. However, the approach to achieving goals should be flexible and changing. For example, if the goal is to ship higher quality products and the method for doing that is adding more quality assurance personnel and, further, the increased headcount isn’t solving the problem, you need to look for another solution.

Getting Great Goal Setting Done
We have a tool we want you to use to guide you in creating effective, clear goals for you and your team. Watch your email because we will email you the tool along with a reminder in a couple of days.

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Until then, if you’re interested in this topic, here are some great resources you can explore:

Harvard Business Review: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
Patty Azzarello, Executive Business Advisor: Negotiating Ruthless Priorities
Forbes: Goal Setting 101: One Of Our Best Performance-Boosters De-Mystified
Fast Company: Why are goals and objectives important?

Have a great day,
Rob and your Coaches at Teamsmith

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