Setting Goals

It's amazing how many companies think goal setting is the most important thing that they can do with their employees.

In millions of organisations around the world, middle managers are still spending countless hours coming up with their own unique priority of SMART goals,

  • S specific
  • M measurable
  • A achievable
  • R results-focused
  • T time-bound

because that's what they've been taught to do.

Everyone needs goals in life, especially in business because that's the right way to keep people on track and make sure your company succeeds, right?

Well, yes and no.

Whilst I agree that goals are important because they can make a real difference to the way in which people focus their attention and effort, poor goal setting can, unfortunately, be disastrous.

Setting individual goals for the sake of it is a pointless exercise, and can easily lead people in different directions.

Company goals have to come first, from which more specific, personal goals can be set.

If your company doesn't have goals then how do you know if or when you are actually successful?

Surely, then, it makes sense to make sure everyone’s goals are aligned with the company goal, otherwise you'll never hit them.

In Dan Pink’s (incredible) book Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us, he talks about the three biggest factors in motivating a modern workforce: Purpose, Autonomy, and Mastery.

Because of the above, it's important to bear all of these three factors in mind when setting goals with your team:

  1. Set achievable goals for your whole organisation (giving them a sense of purpose).

  2. Work with each team member to help them set their own goals that will help them get better at their job and help the company achieve its goals (allowing them the opportunity to master their craft).

  3. Empower people to manage their own performance against their goals with regular check-ins. This needs to be more regular than the dreaded 3 or 6 month reviews (giving them the autonomy to control their own destiny).

And voila! A recipe for success.

Stick to these three simple rules, and you should nourish your team into a highly motivated workforce who are perfectly aligned with the direction of the company!

- Jon

What kind of goals does your company have? Join the discussion with me @JonSyrett