Setting team goals and objectives is a challenging but worthwhile endeavor for any organization that seeks to improve and grow. For business leaders and managers, it boils down to an exercise in motivating a collective group of people to achieve something inspiring in a measurable way that can be celebrated once it is accomplished. Here are some tips to get you started.
Start With the “End” in Mind
The team must know what the company seeks to achieve. Communicate with the team about the vision for the company, what value it brings to customers, and how their individual roles contribute to that mission. Encourage your team to visualize future possibilities and imagine the big picture.
Team members should be empowered to create their own goals and objectives within the larger company-wide mission. Allow the team to brainstorm ways in which they can contribute positive results to the effort. Although senior leaders may already have their views on how and where each team could contribute, it is important to genuinely collaborate with your team members by seeking their input in the goal-setting process. It is much easier and more effective to motivate a team that has created their own goals rather than cajole compliance from a team that must deliver to dictated standards; it is the difference between motivation and teamwork and apathy and frustration. Give your team the room to set their own goals while challenging them to set highly ambitious, but not impossible, goals for themselves.
Foster Individual Growth
As part of the team goal setting, encourage team members to think about their individual goals, strengths, and talents. Knowing that each individual brings unique attributes and motivations, leverage these individual talents for the greater good. By asking team members what they want to do and what they enjoy doing, you can create a team that organically motivates itself to achieve its goals. Set individual milestones and help your team members achieve their individual goals as part of the team goal-setting initiative.
Create an Action Plan
Once the team has established their goals, continue to brainstorm specific ways for them to achieve these goals with an eye to what tasks team members need to do each day to achieve those goals. Determine the top two or three metrics to track to keep the team focused on the goals and establish a centralized location where everyone can see and monitor individual and team goals. This might take the form of an online dashboard or a simple chart hung on the wall; the point is to have a central location where everyone can benchmark their progress.
Keep the Goals Top of Mind
Make sure that your team goals are a constant source of conversation. Review the metrics daily or weekly to track progress. Coach and support those who need a bit more help in reaching their goals and commend colleagues for their efforts and achievements. It is extremely important to acknowledge when a team member has put in extra effort to make progress for the team, and it should be celebrated.
Use Goal Setting to Cultivate a Positive Culture
Encourage your team to work to build a team that is collaborative and engaging, not hypercompetitive and toxic. Envision the company culture you want to have and establish incentive programs that will encourage a positive working environment where individuals thrive. Goals should be ambitious and tied to reasonable incentives so they inspire the team. There is the peril of setting impossible goals with outlandish rewards; this could contribute to a cutthroat work environment. Incentives should be carefully designed to contribute to an overall positive experience for everyone in the workplace.