Driving Business Results Through Goal Setting

The last two months of every calendar year have a familiar and energizing feel of celebration. From Thanksgiving to the New Year, our thoughts often revolve around feelings of gratitude, accomplishment, and exciting of the possibilities the coming year will bring. You don't have to break all-time records in order to have something to celebrate, but if accomplishment is what you are after - there are a few things you have to do in order to set the stage.

Set Clear and Measurable Goals

In order to celebrate anything, you have to first have a firm grasp on what you are working towards. Just having vague or nebulous ideas of what you are hoping to achieve doesn't serve you or your business well. Take a look at what you achieved in past years; how far do you want to move that needle? How can your big picture goals be broken down into smaller goals that can be measured throughout the year?

While you want to set your sights high, it's also important to consider outside sources that could impact your ability to be successful - for example the chance of a recession, or loss of a major client. Anticipating outside influences is not done in order to make excuses for falling short, but to help you prepare to overcome them. Will you need more staff? What about skills-enhancing training for your team. Whatever the obstacle may be, having a plan in place can help mitigate the impact. 

Get Your Team Involved

You can have all the business goals in the world mapped out in your mind, but the fact is it is unlikely you will have much direct impact on whether or not the goals are accomplished. The key is to get your team (from leadership down) invested. That all begins with communication, and ends with effective performance management. How does each department play into meeting the targets? What are the activities they should be doing in order to be successful and support the team? Shine a light on that information, and encourage them to set their own departmental goals to work towards. 

Once goals have been set, and you have decided on how to measure them and what activities you want to highlight, it becomes a matter of managing to your goals. Being able to have quality discussions with your team members about the impact that are having can not only make a difference in reaching the mountaintop, it can also be a great opportunity for performance management conversations.

Visuals Can Help Motivate

No doubt you have heard the phrase "out of sight, out of mind." The same can be said about goals. In fact, researchers have found that people that write down their goals are 42% more likely to achieve them. A well-timed visual not only will help keep the goals top of mind, it can also help fuel excitement and motivation. Visuals can (and should) come in a number of forms. Visuals can include things like tracking sheets that help individual team members focus on those key activities that drive business results and report on their results, or visual displays that marke progress to milestones and big picture goals. However your team chooses to visually measure progress, the end results is keeping everyone focused on the mission and moving in the same direction.

Acknowledge The Milestones

Big picture goals are often large and can feel unattainable. To combat the overwhelming feeling that could cause some to give up the goal before they even get started, you should break down your big picture goals into more manageable pieces with target timelines. When individuals, departments, or the company as a whole meets any of those milestones, make it a priority to acknowledge it. The nod to the completion of a milestone can be as big or small as you desire, but it needs to be genuine and geared to keeping everyone moving forward.

Celebrate and Repeat

There is a chance that by doing the steps above, you notice that your team is crushing the goal, and may even meet it in advance of the deadline. Resist the urge to move the goal post, and instead start the goal setting process over again. Having goals that are unreasonable, or constantly being moved, can be incredibly deflating for team morale resulting in lower performance. This is another reason why you need to put care into setting the goals appropriately from the start, focusing on the past, looking at potential upcoming obstacles, and also making note of what resources need to be provided to support the team in their work. If you did all of those things and your team achieved the results you work aiming for then celebrate, and celebrate big; then set new goals.

If more staff is needed to help you reach your business goals,

Manpower is poised to deliver.