Think about a rowing team. Each rower follows the commands of the leader to row in sync with each other to achieve speed and precision, and ultimately win the race. If each rower isn’t doing their part as a member of the team, the boat can not move forward properly. The same is true with your team and its projects. You need each person to efficiently achieving their goals in order to reach the finish line as effectively as possible.
Reach for the stars together
Setting a realistic and common goal for your team can help them stay focused, increase motivations to achieve the goal, as well as improve the overall team mentality among your employees.
1. Focus. Goal-setting for teams provides a focus for team members. It can help set priorities for tasks, and can even help management delegate tasks. If your team has no goals, how do they know which tasks are important to complete, and when to complete them by? Without goals, you run the risk of having your team accomplish nothing.
2. Motivation. Goals can huge motivators. Let's think about a retail store. Each employee has a daily sales goal. At the end of the week, the person who’s achieved their sales goal most consistently gets better hours the next week. In using this strategy of goal-setting, you’ve achieved higher sales for your store and added personal motivation for your employees. Win-win.
3. Teamwork. If each person is working toward a common goal, they all feel like an important part of the team. Go back to the rowing example. Each rower must do their part perfectly in order for the boat to have optimized forward motion. Utilize this mentality within your business and success is sure to come.
Failure is not an option
So, we understand goals are important to set. But what if the team fails to reach their goal? Failure can be crippling to your team, and subsequently your business. It hurts morale as well as your bottom line. So how can you avoid missing your goals? Here are a few suggestions:
- Be real. It might be tempting to set excessively high goals for your team, in order to show your competition what your team can do. But, you risk demotivating your team by setting unrealistic goals. They take on the mentality of “why should I try if I can’t achieve it anyway?” Or, they kill themselves and still don’t meet your goal. That can leave them burned out, which is not a place you want to be. So make sure and closely analyze what’s realistic for your business and stick to that. Resist comparing yourself to other companies or market trends. Be real.
- Don’t overdo it. Once you get onto this idea of goal-setting, it might be tempting to set a bunch of goals for your team. If one is good, ten is great right? No. Too many goals can be confusing, and make it difficult for your team to focus and prioritize, leaving them to achieve nothing. Keep your goals clear, concise and limited.
- Too much of a good thing. Tunnel vision can also be harmful in achieving your goals. Let’s look at our retail store again. One worker is so focused on achieving his sales goal for the week, he abandons his basic customer service skills, resorting to being pushy and overwhelming, all in the name of getting that next sale. It’s important to make sure your team stays well rounded and keeps all the tools at their disposal sharpened in order to achieve their goals.
- Your cheating heart. Try to avoid creating too much competition within your team with regard to their goals. This can inadvertently result in cheating, which defeats the purpose of the goal completely. You’re trying to instil teamwork to better your business, and cheating is completely counterproductive to that.
- Time’s up. Make sure to give your team enough time to reach their goal. No matter how much pressure your client is putting on you to get it done early if the deadline is too soon for your team, stand up for them. You want to be able to deliver a job well done, not a job not done.
- Keep up. When setting goals for your team, don’t take a set it and forget it approach. Stay involved, show them how you’re coming with your contribution to the goal, and ask them to tell you their progress. Are they having trouble with any aspect? See if you can problem-solve with them. Keep stirring the pot to keep the food from burning.
Landing on the moon, and getting home safely
Creating a passion for your business within your employees is key to helping them achieve their goals. This level of employee engagement builds drive to meet their goals, rather than needing to achieve their goals.
Try these goal-setting tips to build excitement for your team’s goals.
- Get input. Let the team contribute when setting goals for the week, month or year. This helps with team building, and also creates a sense of ownership within the goals. Now, the goals are everyone’s, not just management’s.
- Divvy up the work. Setting team and departmental goals that contribute to the larger goal can provide a sense of achievement as you reach for that larger goal.
- My goal is your goal. Write the goals so that they can apply to each individual employee, giving them a sense of responsibility. Don’t say something generalized like, “Brand X will achieve a 20% increase in sales next year.” Someone who works in the mailroom could easily dismiss a goal like that, thinking they couldn’t possibly have any effect on that. Use something like, “Each employee’s contribution to Brand X will help it achieve x, y and z in the coming year.”
- Go, team! Nurturing a team spirit can create a sense of camaraderie. This is important when reaching for goals. Your team will need support, and if that support comes from within, it means more. With this sense of family among your team, they will offer encouragement, help, problem-solving and more to each other. So work hard to build trust and bring harmony to your group. Try team building activities, and be an active member of the team to encourage support.
- The Golden Ring. Offering small rewards for achieving certain portions of the goal can help your team stay motivated. Even regular praise for a job well done or a good effort will be reaching for that golden ring.
- Keep them sharp to hit the target. Supporting the professional development of your employees will help keep them well rounded. It can also keep them abreast of new strategies or techniques to achieve goals in a more efficient manner. Making sure your team is always growing and learning is an excellent way to ensure goals are achieved.
A successful mission
Ultimately, all you want is success for your business, right? But how do you define success without setting goals? Goal-setting for your team is a great way to help streamline your business, increase productivity, and create passionate workers. All those things add up to success for you, so what are you waiting for? Go reach for the stars, and start setting some goals.