The first month back after the holidays typically involves completing year-end performance reviews and working through incentive compensation processes. As 2013 advances, the next order of business should be setting goals. As your organization cascades corporate goals and priorities, leaders need to align their team and individual goals with the broader organizational goals. A few key benefits of engaging in a formal goal setting process include:
- Ensuring alignment with broader company strategic direction and objectives
- Driving accountability down throughout the organization
- Positioning goal setting as a pre-requisite to effective business planning and execution
- Motivating individuals and teams to reach higher levels of excellence
A goal setting process includes the following elements:
GOALS: Determine what the organization or group wishes to do. These should be stated as the outcomes that individuals or teams wish to accomplish.
STRATEGY: Specify the method or approach you will use to accomplish your goals.
TACTICS: Outline specific action steps required to achieve your goals.
METRICS: Develop measurable criteria to indicate if, and how well your goals are achieved.
ALIGNMENT: Ensure your efforts are in line with other internal initiatives, groups' goals, and ensure all customer-facing roles are working in a coordinated fashion.
Listed below are a few best practices to leverage when working with your team to set 2013 goals and objectives:
1. Reflect upon last year's goals to determine if desired results were achieved:
- Evaluate the current business environment and potential trends before establishing goals and determining the optimal strategy to achieve them.
- Explore any obstacles encountered last year and identify what can proactively be put in place to improve the achievement of newly stated goals.
- Discuss with your team how planning efforts supported goal achievement in the past and determine how the plan need to be developed, monitored, and revised going forward.
2. Take the time now to clarify, review, and communicate the goal setting process:
- Share how effective goal setting creates better alignment with corporate strategy.
- Clarify expectations and guiding principles related to goal setting.
- Define SMART Goals - Specific, Measurable, Aligned and Actionable, Realistic, and Time bound.
- Communicate timing and review processes -- how goals will be monitored and recalibrated.
3. Involve the team throughout the goal setting process:
- Help translate broader team goals into individual performance goals.
- Ensure team members have an opportunity to establish goals.
- Build consensus on priorities and the rationale for their selection.
- Establish and share action plans.
- Seek buy-in and commitment to established metrics.
4. Maintain the same level of commitment throughout the year by establishing sub-goals and calendaring check-in times to chart progress:
- Set up regular check-in times with the team and individuals to confirm if they are on track to complete goals.
- Based on changes to the internal and/or external environment, always remain flexible to modify goals and tactics as necessary.
- Celebrate successes - no matter how small.
By leveraging these best practices, you can greatly improve both how you establish and align around the goals set for 2013.