If you’re trying to help your team members reach goals, you’ll achieve better outcomes if you formalize the process. Dr. Tony Allessanda, at assessments24X7.com, writes about the importance of goal setting. While his posts are directed to individual performers who want to accomplish specific objectives, his advice can be applied to managers.
Once your company or department has established objectives for the next 6 months or the coming year, it’s time for you to determine the goals you’ll set for each team member. Without measurable objectives, your department members might not understand what they’re aiming for.
During the process, remember to establish specific goals. For example, you might tell your sales manager you want to see a 5–10% increase in sales this year. You might tell your product manager you want to have the new service in beta testing by June and released to the market by October.
After establishing the goals, make sure you get buy-in from your team members. Be open to negotiation. If your sales manager is having trouble with the goal you set, work with her to determine the sales increase she sees as achievable. You don’t want to set goals at unrealistic levels and end up demoralizing your team. Once you agree on everyone’s goals, put them in writing. This formalizes the upcoming work effort for everyone.
Your task is not complete yet. To make sure everyone’s on track, you also need to measure progress at regular intervals. Team members are going to run into roadblocks. These roadblocks can cause schedules to slip unless you find workarounds. For example, if a key prospect has decided to buy from the competition, your sales manager might need help finding other good prospects to help her reach her targets. If the product development manager loses a partner who was going to help code a key piece of software, you’ll need to help him quickly hire a replacement.
At the end of the performance period, make sure to conduct a review. Even if team members didn’t achieve exactly what they were aiming for, stay upbeat. Celebrate their successes while pointing out what they could do differently to complete their next set of goals.
If you haven’t established a formal goal-setting process at your company, maybe it's time to make that your own goal.