Last week, I wrote You Cannot Do A Goal — You Can Do Activities. This week, I’ll share a few other ingredients of a goal. If you want goals taken seriously, it starts with the team leader. A team leader must take goals seriously if team members are expected to. Serious goals are researched, analyzed, written, reviewed, re-read, and shared. It’s not easy, it’s time consuming, and a lot of thought must be put into it. It is worth it? I asked my friend, Greg McMullen, who coaches a high school swim team, what actionable ideas he got from my post last week. He quoted, “Ask yourself every day—what have I done to help the team? Could the team have done it without my help?” Proper goal setting will give you direction, and will help improve your team daily. Goal setting can be the foundation for everything you do to improve your team and teammates.
1. Difficulty: The goal must be challenging, yet not impossible.
A team member I once worked with proudly showed me his previous month’s goals. He had listed goals and activities on a sheet. His team leader had crossed off the individual monthly production goals as unrealistic. He beat the original crossed out production goal by 10%! The moral here is to be careful not to clip a team member’s wings by limiting achievable expectations. If they believe it can be achieved, and have a plan of activities to reach the goal, support them. BTW, I’m not so sure it was poor leadership to cut the goal, because the marketer told me he was highly motivated to show his manager he was wrong!
2. Measurable: Base goals on measurable performance to avoid vague goals.
Goals must be from an objective criteria, usually in numbers, which can be compared, tracked, and paced. To pace a goal, take the results-to-date, divided by a unit of time (hour, day, week, or month), multiplied by the unit of time for the entire goal. For example, let’s say the goal for a team member was to produce 300 widgets in a month (21 work days). 5 days into the goal, 60 widgets were completed, or 60÷5=12 widgets per day. Now, take the sum of 12 per day, × 21 workdays, and the sum is 252, which is 48 widgets short of the goal. With 16 days remaining, how many widgets, per day, will need to be made to hit 300?
3. Activity Driven: Positively reinforce or modify behavior by specifying activities and how they will be modified.
Although every part of the goal is important, IMHO, activities are the most important. Consider what activities should be continued, stopped, improved, resumed, or need help.
4. Time Limits: Set start dates, periods to review progress, and an end date.
Don’t leave the meat off this sandwich. Review the goals throughout the period. That way, you may modify activities and behavior to help reach the goal.
5. Conditions: Qualifications that influence the goal may be aiding or hindering.
The best example I can recall of hindering conditions was a retail organization’s goal. The east coast based company set a goal to beat its all time one-month volume record. Unfortunately, the month they picked also happened to be the month the stock market plunged to the 800’s, banks failed, and in general, the nation experienced an economic down turn. Undaunted, they redoubled their efforts, reworked their plans, and beat the record! That’s leadership!
6. Rewards: Positively reinforce the behavior and activities.
Often, when I mention rewards, people assume I mean financial rewards—maybe, maybe not. What motivates the team or the team member? A reward could be recognition, time off, lunch with leader, or…?
Next week, I’ll share how to use a goal form with a downloadable example.