Career Woman

How to set effective goals for the year

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With 2019 just around the corner, you’re probably already planning your company goals for the New Year. If you’re hoping to bring your team to the next level, then you know that having clear goals in mind will serve as a roadmap toward each and every milestone.

It’s essential, however, that you set effective goals and do so wisely in order for those goals to be the most impactful both for your team and for the company as a whole.

Here are 5 things to keep in mind when you set effective goals for the New Year:

1) Set goals that tie into a bigger picture

Employees want to engage in work that is rewarding and fulfilling. In fact, one of the biggest reasons for job dissatisfaction is the feeling that there’s no ‘greater purpose’ attached to the job. For that reason, it’s important to connect whatever goals you set to the company’s overall mission statement.

How will the company grow in the New Year? What does that mean for your department and team? How does each person’s work make a difference? When your team feels as if their contributions are making an impact on the overall bigger picture, it leads to higher work satisfaction and greater enthusiasm at accomplishing goals.

2) Set goals that are specific

The more specific and detailed the goal, the better. For instance, instead of setting the general goal that you’d like to see customer acquisition increase this year, a better goal would be this: Accomplish a 30% increase in customer acquisition in the next 6 months.

The more detailed goal gives team members an idea of exactly what’s expected of them, allowing them to know when they’re on the right track (acquisition is steadily increasing) or when they’ve fallen short and need to adjust course.

3) Set goals that are time-bound

Research has repeatedly shown that the majority of people work best under deadlines. People respond well to deadlines because meeting them allows them to feel a sense of accomplishment. Further, deadlines motivate us. When we’re unable to keep them, we feel it reflects on our character. After all, no one wants to be the employee in the office who can’t be relied upon or trusted.

Setting deadlines for your company goals, therefore, is an excellent way to motivate employees and move them closer and closer to the finish line. Do all your present goals have time lines? Is there an ‘end date’ that everyone is knowledgeable of and working toward? Be sure to include this time element in your goals, and you’ll no doubt see an increase in work output.

4) Set goals that are realistic

As a leader, there’ll often be times when you want to reach beyond your grasp, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. All leaders should have vision, creativity, and the capacity to think big and innovate. However, one must also be realistic when it comes to goal-setting.

For instance, when you take a look at your team, do they have the capabilities, resources, and skills to reach a certain company goal? Or will forcing the goal upon them only lead to disengaged employees, job dissatisfaction, decreased confidence, and poor work output? Remember, when employees don’t feel that they have the necessary talent to complete a task, it can be enough to completely shut them off to their current position. It’s essential therefore to take an honest assessment of your talent pool. What are your team’s strengths? What are the areas for improvement? And how can you close that gap moving forward? While you do so, set goals that are realistic for your team. There’s nothing wrong with goals that challenge employees to grow, but make sure the growth occurs in increments, not in overwhelming leaps.

5) Set goals that are important to success

As you set effective goals for your company, ask yourself what are the success factors you genuinely are striving for.

What does success look like for your company? Is one aspect of success more important than another? Or are all the factors at play equally important? If so, then exercise caution when esteeming certain goals over others and be sure that no two goals conflict.

The beginning of a New Year is the perfect opportunity to regroup as a team. You’re able to look back on the accomplishments of the previous year and examine areas for improvement.  January 1st brings with it renewed energy and a fresh start. People are ready to take on new goals and challenge themselves to reach a higher level. Using the strategies above, you’ll be sure to engage in effective goal setting with your team that will help everyone reach milestones like never before.

About Rosalind Cardinal

Rosalind Cardinal, known as ‘The Leadership Alchemist', is the Principal Consultant of Shaping Change, a consulting practice in the field of Organisational Development and Human Resources. She has coached clients at Executive and Senior Levels in government agencies, private enterprises, and the community sector and is a sought-after speaker and expert at conferences and events. Visit Shaping Change to learn new strategies and game-changing ideas toward becoming a better leader and to download Ros’ free e-book on leadership.

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