The Gutsball Blog


0 Comment(s)


Make a Game Plan for Goal Setting

Make a Game Plan for Goal Setting

If your company is terribly efficient, you used the last months of 2012 to set goals for 2013.  I’m not referring to the business plan, I assume that process was completed before the leaves changed color.  What I am talking about is the annual exercise to set individual or team goals.  Given the typical 4th quarter press of business, my guess is this is now something you are just getting around to and, if that’s the case, I’ve got a few suggestions:

First, it is absolutely imperative that everyone in your organization, from the mailroom to the executive level, has a set of clearly articulated, quantitatively measurable objectives for the coming year.  And, it may seem like a blinding glimpse of the obvious, but everyone’s (or every team’s) goals should link to what the organization is trying to achieve, both financially and strategically.  This is important for a number of reasons: People need to have “that conversation” about goals and personal development (more on this later) with their immediate supervisor.  It provides them with a sense of belonging and is a clear demonstration that they are valued.  Additionally, such a discussion leads to better understanding of how individual performance contributes to company performance.  An understanding of this nature is a powerful motivator.

Personally, I am a big believer in systemic implications.  I think it makes perfect sense that decisions, strategies, goals all link together.  It starts with the group of people, usually the executive team, that creates the strategies and agrees on the implementation plans to operationalize them.  In order for the organization to put itself in the best position to succeed, the linkage to the organizations goals must start with the executive team and cascade from there.  Equally important is that the executive team’s individual objectives acknowledge the interdependencies.  By that I mean that individual goal statements must be reflective of others on the team who are being counted on for achievement of deliverables.  “I can’t succeed unless you provide me with XYZ, therefore, we both need to share responsibility on attaining such and such objective.”  In our company, we annually have a meeting where the purpose is to share individual executive team member’s goal statements to ensure interdependencies are not only acknowledged, but also documented.  It was Ben Franklin who said “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”  Words to live by…he was talking about linkage!

So, if you’ll allow me to back up to the matter of the personal development conversation.  There is hardly anything more important, more energizing and, therefore, more motivating to an employee than a discussion around career path/planning with his/her immediate supervisor.  I might go as far as saying it’s the ultimate validation.  And, the right time to have this talk is when goals for the coming year are being discussed, “here’s what the company needs from you and after delivering, here’s where it could lead to and here are some development ideas/actions that should be helpful.”  Certainly, this is a mandatory conversation to have with your top performers and with people who have the potential to become top performers.  Put some genuine effort into it, you’ll be pleased with the results.