Goal-setting at the employee level and upward
Don’t underestimate the power of a clear, well-communicated goal.
Why is Employee Goal Setting Important?
When it comes to motivated employees, those that know where they are going are more likely to be on-point and productive. That’s a fact.
So why not spend extra time defining outcomes through employee goal setting?
Most companies that I come across know about the steps for goal-setting and do not need a lecture about it. Approximately half of those are not terrific at implementing, though. Something gets in the way. Usually, it is the leaders not modeling the goal-following process or simply put, just doing it. It is an investment in time that often gets pre-empted by “real work”.
So, assuming you know about S-M-A-R-T Goals, well … here it is in a nutshell anyway.
The SMART criteria, plus a little something else
|S||SPECIFIC||If I read your goal, I should be able to understand what you mean by it. At higher levels, these may be more general. No sweat as long as cascaded goals or actions that come from this goal has an eventual level of specificity.|
|M||MEASURABLE||You can measure anything. For task-like goals, consider the outcome or what would be a good indicator of getting the goal achieved.|
|A||ALIGNED||Goals at departmental levels should fit well (align) what happens at the next level up. Team level goals should make sense for moving the department forward.|
|R||REALISTIC||Although a little stretch is okay, most goals should be achievable or else employees get frustrated. So balance some more realistic goals with a few that show ambitious accomplishment.|
|T||TIME-BOUND||Put a timeframe on the desired outcome. Complicated goals might need interim target time targets.|
Extra added criteria (no extra charge …)
|B||BEHAVIORAL||There should be a balance of job-specific goals (tasky things) as well as a behavioral expectation or two. Examples: team player, positive-attitude, easy to work with, (and yes, these are all measurable. Ask me how.)|
Simple Steps for Goal Setting
If you need the steps for goal setting, follow this simple approach to make a goal setting activity interactive:
1) Capture the mission and goals that exist at the next level up. If you are at the top level, you should be starting with a strategic plan. (I have lots of juicy details on strategic planning)
2) Think one level more specific and one notch more near-term to list areas that you would like your goals to fall within. Starting with goal “areas” keeps you out of the weeds until you can agree upon overarching topics. Example: “we want a goal addressing the financial area” or “there should be a goal looking at our people development.”
3) From each of these goal “areas”, craft a statement that includes a strong action verb and an object of the verb. (Ex: “Research and implement next level of technology for the production fab …”
4) Wordsmith, gain agreement, and assign accountability for each and every action.
5) If goals look too general, that’s okay. Keep it the way it is and create a list of actions that will accomplish that goal.
6) Post, track, feedback, and celebrate as you accomplish.
7) Revise as needed but revamp at least annually.
Team goal setting should absolutely involve the whole team, not just for ownership but to get everyone involved and each person’s job activities advertised and understood. Hey Wilbur, you may actually have fun doing it.
Do not fret over what you call a goal, what looks more like an action, and what should be labeled as an objective. When it comes to “doing stuff”, getting caught up in the terminology is simply a distraction. (Yeah, I know it is easy to do though).
So in summary, once you feel competent about what a goal should entail, conduct goal-setting sessions with individuals and teams. Post in simple terms. Think of it as a dashboard for goals and clear direction.