Goal setting helps in keeping the focus, reflection on what needs to be done, aligning everyone to common objectives. Goal setting is critical in the business world to organize and accomplish company objectives – key among them growth and profitability to name a few.
How does the management team get everyone on board involved and interested in setting the pace for the future of the organization? The number one focus element is the mindset or psychology to get your employees consciously involved in the goal-setting activity.
Edward A. Locke officially developed the goal-setting theory back in 1968 to help us understand that this is a conscious process and that it shouldn’t be taken lightly. According to Mr. Locke, the goal-settingprocess provides an effective and resourceful means to increase productivity and inspiration in the workplace.
The former Canadian Psychological Association President Gary P. Latham reiterates that the fundamental principle of the goal-setting theory is that when done consciously, goals come into play when the result is achieved. In a nutshell, these two scholars agree that goals motivate our actions and the desired result.
“A goal is not always meant to be reached; it often serves simply as something to aim at.” – Bruce Lee
What should a company keep in mind while designing organizational goals?
Your organization has a higher probability of hitting the set goals if everyone believes in those goals. Belief is a strong emotion and needs to be created by the top management. Goals need to be adopted by the entire organization. To achieve that, start the process with the key stakeholders on the main agenda about goals and objectives. Moreover, elaborate where you want to be, and what steps to take to reach the desired goal.
Remember, goals are diverse – they can be general, descriptive, or tangible; while objectives are actionable ideas that should be realized, say, within a year to reach a company’s strategic goals. Consequently, you need both to fulfill the vision.
Keeping people involved in goal setting – Top-down and bottom-up – both processes need to go hand in hand.
For most performing companies, goal-setting clarifies business priorities and moves the team in the direction that the management envisions. It escalates results and increases employee satisfaction–if executed correctly.
Let the goal-setting process begin from the top, at the executive level, then at the next level of leadership, and so on down to the individual employees. Have a clear broad vision for company objectives. This way, you set the organization in the right direction ensuring that the overall success is felt from the top to the bottom of the team hierarchy.
Secondly, trickle down to the individual buy-in. The entire goal-setting process should be collective. All the team players are required to provide input. The managers should guide each employee on their roles and marry these roles into a team vision into their daily routine work.
The strategy must provide a strong sense of purpose to each member of the team. Cooperation between managers and employees in goal-setting development is vital. Managers help the employees to see the idea and guide them to align with the business priorities. The manager should also provide timely feedback on performance while recognizing growth prospects where employees can expand their knowledge, abilities, and skills.
Making sure that final goals are linked to long term objectives.
Employees quickly buy into company goals when they see “what’s in it” for themselves. We are no longer in the era of keeping jobs for fancy promotions and a regular salary, plus a few benefits strewn in the sand. Employees have also set high standards for themselves and companies should try to align the goal-setting agenda around that mind-set.
Most progressive organizations use performance management systems, where employees’ goals are likely linked to corporate priorities. The justification is simple: employees will focus on the larger goal if their individual goals fit into the corporate dream. Moreover, companies are starting to adopt their organizational business goals and link them to functional business objectives as well as team-performance goals. This inspires accountability and improved performance as individuals acknowledge the direct effect of their performance.
Be flexible to change the goals in real-time if required
One-of things that we immediately shelf away after a long and arduous process of strategizing and planning is designing static goals. They should be bold, dynamic and evolving. Do not make the mistake most struggling companies do by setting goals at the beginning of the year and forgetting about them until mid-year review. Sure, we understand that realities fluctuate all over the year, and if you fail to revisit your goals; the result can easily discourage your employees. Also, one should surely avoid moving targets. Rather, goals should adapt as the business environment changes. This helps to create a performance-management structure that motivates the overall performance of team members.
So, go ahead be adventurous in the right sense with your goals. With proper structure and thought, you will enable your employees and set them up for success. Well isn’t all what as a senior executive what you ask for? Do let us know how the process is working out for you.