Goal setting can help to give people motivation and purpose and steer the direction of a company or project. Having clearly defined goals means you are always pushing forward instead of sitting stagnant. Once a company or team has determined its vision, it is time to decide how to get there and what the goals along the way will be. In order to be more effective, there are several components of formulating a goal.
Goals should be …
Achievable. While setting the bar high can be a strong motivator to meet effective goals, it is important to remain realistic. What is attainable given the situation and circumstances? Employees should be challenged but not get discouraged. At the same time, if it is not challenging enough, they may become bored or lose interest.
Measureable. How will you know that you are progressing or succeeding? Your goal should be able to be tracked and measured so that you can clearly see results. Defining metrics such as percentages, dollar amounts, or other figures are essential for tracking progress. Vague goals can be unclear and leave employees with different expectations. Clear metrics mean that everyone is aiming for the same benchmark.
Flexible. Goals should not be set in stone. Sometimes it is necessary to go back and revise the goal depending on progress or the situation. You may realize that there are aspects that are not realistic, or perhaps something impacted the progress that was out of your control. Periodically reviewing goals can help to keep things on track.
Deadline-driven. Each goal should also have a deadline for when it should be achieved. This can create more of a drive and sense of urgency. Employees can plan milestones accordingly to ensure they are continuing to move forward toward the end result. Without a deadline, there is less motivation to focus on attainment. However, deadlines should also allow for a reasonable amount of time to get things accomplished without the person or team feeling overwhelmed.
Short- and long-term. While achieving a long-term effective goal may be your ultimate objective, setting short-term goals along the way can enhance confidence and motivation. Break down a long-term goal into smaller parts that all support the end result. If the long-term goal is a 10 percent increase in sales, smaller goals could be a 2 percent increase, then 5, then 8, until finally you reach 10 percent. Short-term goals can help employees keep sight of distant goals and track their progress toward attaining them.
Goal setting is an integral part of any business. Employers not only set goals for the company as a whole, but each individual employee may have goals of their own. However, the same strategies apply regardless of the situation. Individual and group goals should be achievable, measurable, flexible, deadline-driven, and encompass both short- and long-term objectives. If any of these elements are missing, it can detract from the focus and effectiveness of the goal.
Do you feel as though your goals are missing the mark or not producing the results you know are possible? The professionals at JP Kantor Consulting can help you determine where the hang-ups are and how to improve your goal setting abilities to maximize results. Contact us today to find out how our executive coaching or management training can help you to become a better leader and drive performance and productivity.