“Ready, Aim….”: Helping
Your Team Evaluate and Goal-Set
One of the greatest predictors of success for business
leaders is Goal Orientation. Goals are
dreams with a deadline.
Having already set your annual goals as a leader and ensured
they fit into the company’s direction, ask employees to do the same.
- Prepare for the goal-setting process. In advance, have the employees
self-evaluate against key priorities before setting goals. This gives them a
dose of reality. You have to know where you are before you can determine where
you are going.
Then, make sure you and they are clear regarding the major priorities
where they must focus their energy/resources/skills to carry out the mission.
Be crystal-clear in what you want and what you think is most important! Be a
Three categories of major priorities:
- Set goals to pursue an established
- Job description core responsibilities
- Current department priorities for
- Metrics that the supervisor or
- Set goals to pursue the over-arching vision.
- Set goals to close the gap between
intended performance and reality performance.
There must be a clear WHY as the motivator behind every goal. The tricky part and a quality of an effective
leader is moving those external reasons to an employee’s internal commitment to
pursuing them in his/her goals.
- Better to set a vital-few than the
trivial-many, when it comes to goal-setting. Remember, too many
priorities means no priorities—and it’s unwieldy to track.
- Make goals SMART and HARD.
- SMART stands for: Specific (never
vague), Measurable (trackable for effectiveness), Attainable (achievable/realistic),
Relevant-to-Job-Description (aligned and results-oriented), Time-dated (can be
calendared for a sense of urgency).
“We focus on results.
We are not activity-driven; we are results-driven. We measure what we value, so
we celebrate both the writing and the achieving of team-blessed standards of
performance for every staff member.”
The reason most people never reach their goals is that they
don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Goals should be north of your comfort zone,
but south of the delusional zone.
- HARD stands for: Heartfelt (What’s In
It For Me?), Animated (Visualization: You have to be able to see yourself doing
it and accomplishing it), Required, Difficult (challenging, a stretch, to be
better tomorrow than I was today, cannot be achieved in just one step).
A goal is like pulling a rope when you cannot clearly see what is on the
other end. You know the treasure is there, but you can only see a shadowy
outline. With each pull, the treasure becomes clearer and clearer, until it is
right in front of you.
- State goals positively and in the
present tense. You act consistently with the dominant picture in your
- Put them in writing and speak them
aloud. It gives
them more power when they pass “across the lips and pencil tips” (Jim Rohn).
The biggest difference between moderately successful people and highly
successful people was the writing down of goals. If they are few in number, you may want to ask
your people to memorize them to set them in stone in their minds. At the least,
ask after every goal is shared, “How does that goal contribute to the overall
goals of the organization?”
- Confirm the goals together. This hits the go-button on implementation
once there is mutual agreement that these indeed are the goals. This may require two meetings: one to review
them and make comments on adjusting them, and one to lock them in.
- Ask questions that get at the root of
making goal-attainment more likely for each individual:
more do they need from you as their supervisor to be successful?
resources/learnings/collaboration with others do they need to accomplish these
are they best motivated to attain them?
potential obstacles/roadblocks might they see standing in their way of
else will they share their goals with? (for accountability)
- Lock in the system for accountability/review of goal-attainment:
regular feedback in stand-up meetings
sessions and what they should prepare to discuss each time
- Encourage them to post their goals
somewhere they will see them daily. Out of sight, out of mind.
Now your team is set up for success!
Paul D. Casey lives in the Tri-Cities, WA, and is the owner of Growing Forward Services, whose mission is to equip and coach leaders and teams to spark breakthrough success. Paul has authored four books, including his most recent one Leading with Super-Vision. He can be found on his web site www.paulcasey.org or on LinkedIn at Paul D. Casey.