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What’s Your 2022 Game Plan? Setting and Achieving Doable Goals

Feb 3, 2022 | HR Services

By Jessica Stitz, MBA, SHRM-SCP

 

Goal-setting is a skill that takes practice. This month, we’re sharing techniques to help you and your whole company set the right goals for where you’re at, and follow through with them.

Be sure to sign up for our upcoming, free webinar!

 

TTC goal setting you don't have to groan about webinar

Goal Setting You Don’t Have to Groan About

February 15, 2022
11:00am – 12:00pm (MST)

Why set goals?

Organizations that set clear and attainable goals achieve far more than their counterparts that don’t. The main reason is that goal setting done well drives employee engagement.

We all want to work towards something, and setting goals helps you determine what you want to achieve and where you want to go.

Your people want goals now more than ever. They want clarity and forward momentum after the last a few years of uncertainty. A Gallup study found that engagement is starting to decline for the first time in a decade, and one of the reasons is lack of clarity in expectations.

Setting goals makes it possible for everyone at your organization to share a vision of where you’re going, and head there together.

 

Set doable goals

According to a survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, 9 out of 10 business leaders report not achieving the goals they set for their organizations.

Meanwhile, Brene Brown’s latest research suggests that 90% of people don’t set realistic goals.

Think there might be a connection? We do too.

Setting doable goals largely means being able to translate your long-term goals into short-term ones. When we begin work with companies, we ask them about their business plan in the next 3-5 years. If you don’t know your organization’s longer-term goals, it’s really hard to figure out what you need to accomplish in the short term.

As Dao says, “You have to understand what the long-term goal means on a daily basis.”

For example, if your goal is to grow your organization by 50% in five years, then that means you need to grow your organization by about 10% this year. Meet with your team and discuss how you’re going to accomplish the growth needed this year.

Once you know how your organization is going to achieve the 10% goal, establish who is accountable for each part of reaching that goal. Then break that down into monthly or quarterly goals.

When you break annual goals down to monthly or quarterly ones, it becomes much easier for your people to gain traction.

It also makes it possible to notice when things are getting off track, and to celebrate small wins. Celebrating successes on the way to meeting your goal is important — it’s fun and it will build momentum!

 

 

Communicate often, but keep things simple

Communicate clearly and often about the organization’s goals and where you are in achieving them.

This is almost always the #1 leadership action that helps organizations succeed. State what you want to achieve in the simplest of terms and be as task-specific and bite-sized as possible. This allows your team to start seeing progress quickly, which can be a huge motivator.

Add a goals discussion to your regularly scheduled meeting. Discussing goals, even just briefly, at your regular meetings helps keep the goal in the front of everyone’s mind. Also consider bringing visuals. People are visual, so adding graphics allows the team to see the goal and where they are in achieving it.

 

Involve your people

When we say, “involve your employees!”, we mean all of your people, not just a select few.

Like Dale Carnegie said, “people support a world they help create.” Everyone should have opportunities to provide input into their goals, as well as the organization’s overall goals. At the end of the day, all of your people are responsible for the success of your company.

Have you ever worked for an organization where you weren’t involved in the goal-setting process, including for your own goals? Where you were just told by your supervisor what your goals for the year were? How excited and engaged were you about achieving those goals? Probably not very!

Remember that your people should understand what their goals within the organization’s overarching goal are, but allow them to figure out how they are going to achieve them.

Be there to support and guide them, but don’t tell them how to do it. Autonomy is one of the keys to motivation, and people want it at their jobs.

Let people fail

This is hard for most leaders, because they feel like if their people fail, then they fail, or they failed the person. This is not true. If you allow your employees to stretch themselves, they are going to fail sometimes. When they fail after making an earnest attempt to succeed at something outside of their comfort zone, coach them and tell them that they made a great effort.

Cultivate an atmosphere at your organization that encourages employees to stretch themselves and grow. This will strengthen your business.

 

Set a people goal

We all know that people are leaving their current roles at a record-setting rate. When turnover happens or engagement goes down, productivity significantly decreases, even among your most engaged employees.

We recommend you get out in front of disengagement by setting an organizational goal around your people. Maybe you perform an employee survey, pulse survey, or have a look at exit interviews, and find out what’s leading to disengagement and resignations. Then, set a goal around that factor.

A few examples:

  • You realize people are leaving your organization for more compensation → set a goal to find out what the market is paying for your positions, and adjust accordingly.
  • It becomes clear that people are disengaged because their manager doesn’t have the needed leadership skills → set a goal to get your managers training.
  • You’re informed that your employees’ well-being has dropped over the last few years → set a goal to improve it!
  • Your employees tell you they feel like they don’t know what is going on in the organization, because communication has decreased over the past two years → set a goal for your leadership team and managers to provide clear and frequent updates.

 

We can assure you that setting a people-focused goal for this year will pay back in dividends.

When your people know you care about them enough to set a business goal around them, it will increase engagement, trust, innovation, and ultimately productivity.

 

What not to do

Since we work hard to help people find work they love, we get to hear a lot about what they don’t love.

Here are the top 3 no-goes when it comes to setting goals:

 

No-go #1: Setting unattainable goals

Have you ever worked for an organization where they liked to set “stretch goals”, where “stretch” really meant “unattainable”? Setting unattainable goals makes people feel deflated and frustrated, like it is pointless to try, and that the company or supervisor doesn’t understand their role or the market. Sometimes employees don’t even know where to start, because the goal seems too large to tackle.


No-go #2: Not aligning goals across departments

It is very important that goals align across all of your organization. Not aligning goals across departments can lead to them having competing priorities. This is counterproductive.


No-go #3: Unclear messaging about where you want to be headed

I know I mentioned this before, but I feel it is really important. Be clear in your goals. As Brene Brown says in Dare to Lead, “Being clear is kind, being unclear is unkind.” If you aren’t clear about goals, then people may not understand them or might misinterpret them, and your employees will lose traction.

Have you ever been part of a team with clear goals that everyone believed in and that everyone was working towards? Do you remember how great it felt and how engaged everyone was?

When working on those kinds of teams, we hold ourselves to a higher standard.

This year, set goals that allow your team to feel that you’re all moving in the same direction together. Soon enough, you will be.

At Turning the Corner, we believe that meaningful work that we enjoy is one of life’s greatest rewards—it’s why we do what we do! Our mission is to end suffering in the workplace and empower businesses to thrive through various HR services and training opportunities.