Making Progress on Goals Important to You

26 Jun
by Bridget DiCello

You can verbally communicate a goal to some employees and they will get it done.  Others need to see a goal in writing.  Others feel that goals are out there somewhere, but do not direct their daily work.  Ambitious employees feel that working hard today will lead to accomplishing the goal, but don’t see the pathway.  Big picture thinkers can hear your company goal and set their own goals for their team or themselves.

The best thing you can do as the leader is have clear goals communicated in writing to your team.

Yearly  – It is important they understand where the company and team is headed in the longer term.  They may not know what they need to do today to accomplish that goal, but realize that the discussion will continue on progress made towards the yearly goal.

Monthly – Based on what you want to accomplish in 12 months, and therefore, what you expect to accomplish this quarter, departments and individuals need to clearly understand their top priorities for the month.  To some people, this is intuitive, for others it is not.

Company/Department Monthly Goals – Do you know your company’s/department’s top goals for the month?  Are they way too ambitious for even a team twice the size of yours to achieve in 30 days?  Is the list lengthy?  Overly ambitious goals that are routinely not reached will become a demotivator and employees will lose their focus and drive.

Write 3-5 monthly goals that are the most important things your team needs to accomplish within the next 30 days.  This is in addition to routine work.  This is not all that you and your team will do.  You may make much more progress than this.  But, if you were to narrow it down, these are the most important things to get done.

Examples:

  1.  Hire a salesperson.
  2. Evaluate and make a decision on the new software program.
  3. Establish key company metrics and a method to measure them routinely.  (It’s amazing how many companies or departments don’t have them.)
  4. Complete 50% (8 of 16) of current backlog of projects.

Individual Monthly Goals – Does each employee know the top 3 to 5 goals they need to accomplish this month?  “Keep working really hard on everything on my plate, stay focused and make some progress.”  That’s a scary statement to a leader, but may be the answer from much of your team.  This ambitious employee, who means well, may still frustrate the manager and hold the team back.

Have each individual draft their own 3 to 5 goals for the month, based on your company’s monthly goals.  Ensure they know this is a draft and you will add your input and may make changes.  If you feel the employee does not have a grasp of what they need to do, skip their draft at first, and write the monthly goals for them.

Examples:

  1. Complete the tutorials for three software programs and evaluate them based on the following criteria (end user ease of use, inclusion of our main data points, compatibility with our accounting software and outputs).
  2. Complete performance evaluations on your three direct reports, including obtaining their self-assessment and drafting goals for each.
  3. Schedule time in your calendar each day and work on the backlog of projects, based on an agreed upon priority list, completing four projects by month end, while adding no new projects to the overdue list.

You will not see the results your team is capable of achieving if they are not focused and directed in their efforts.  Their daily efforts need to be focused on monthly goals they are striving to achieve, which are created in order to reach your company’s monthly goals.  Remember, to some employees, setting their individual monthly goals is intuitive and to some it is not.

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