The beginning of every year starts the same. We set performance goals for the upcoming year. Call them New Year’s Resolutions, initiatives, focuses, or objectives. We are inclined to establish them year after year, even when past years have had little or no success. This is true for personal and professional goals. So how do we increase the likelihood that the goal will be accomplished? Increase the team’s commitment.
The Basics of Setting Performance Goals
To increase your team’s commitment to performance goals, we must ensure all goals pass the SMART goals test. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. All performance goals should have a clear definition of success and a process for measuring progress. They should also be realistically possible with other action items taking place in your life, align with your life purpose, values, and long-term plan. And finally, set a target date for the completion of your goal.
Take these two goals for example:
- “I am going to lose weight this year” is a goal.
- “I am going to lose twenty pounds by the end of the year and will track my progress by logging weekly weigh-ins on my Google Fit app” is a SMART goal.
Don’t Tackle Too Much At Once
Outline all of your company’s objectives and attempt to rank them in order of importance. Chances are, you came up with a long list of objectives and want to rank each one as the most important. You are not alone, but to succeed and increase your team’s commitment, you must limit the number of goals you focus on. Creating one or two clear priorities allows each team member to focus and dedicate their energy to completing one goal instead of taking baby steps on many goals. Most importantly, be willing to course correct or even drop the goal as new information and priorities present themselves. There is no faster demotivation for a team than having to continue to work on a no longer significant goal.
Except maybe course correcting or dropping goals too quickly or often. Explore what has changed with your team so they understand the need for the charge course. And don’t course correct or drop goals for the “new, more interesting initiative.” If you have been strategic in your planning and know what a new commitment will cost you, then you can confidently refuse new opportunities. Keep track of those new exciting initiatives to consider when setting future goals.
Ask Team Members to Help Set Performance Goals
Selecting and shaping goals should be a team effort. When possible, collect team input on company objectives and ranking of importance. In larger companies, including the team on their specific department goals. The more involved they are in setting goals, the more they’ll be invested in the goals. Even if you cannot include your team in the goal-setting process, highlight how each person’s efforts contribute to achieving team goals. Connect with them emotionally and share how the goal will make their jobs easier. Encourage people to ask questions! When people understand the end goal and the steps the team will take to achieve it, the direction forward feels easier.
Once the goals are finalized, include regular communication about your progress toward the goal in your team meetings and individual one-on-ones. If the team is on track, celebrate. If the team is off-track, discuss what steps must be taken to get back on track. This shows that leadership is committed to performance goals. Our team of dedicated marketing strategists can help coach your team through establishing SMART Marketing Goals and creating a process for regular check-ins to ensure success.
Heather is the VP of Operations at Innereactive and we are lucky to have her. She has over five years of experience running an HR department and enjoys helping businesses like yours find solutions to their HR needs.