Though we are all familiar with the concept of goal setting, many of us falter in using them to create an impact in our lives. As a result, goals merely remain a bunch of fancy words. Let’s look at some broad guidelines to help set real, achievable goals:
• Articulate the goal with a powerful, inspiring statement – We are emotional beings. Weak, wishy-washy expressions or cold emotionless statements prevent goals from becoming the impassioned force that human beings can relate to. Powerfully articulated goals will not only keep your own energy high but also build and strengthen team spirit.
• Carve out a clear, well-outlined picture – The game of Chinese whispers is a good example of how information or data can undergo a sea of change as it filters through different streams of interpretation. Hence, it’s best to be specific about your goals and the expected outcome. Define and write down each aspect, including timelines, dates, and roles of each member to move in a well-coordinated and unified manner towards your goal.
• Set a priority for each goal – Every organization will have a multiple set of goals at any one time. This can lead to confusion when there is a lack of clarity about the purpose and relevance of each goal in the overall vision. Prioritizing each goal will help you to integrate your team’s energy and enhance efficiency.
• Set a mix of inspiring and operational goals – Hitch your wagon to a star, but if you hitch all your wagons to stars, then any non-achievement will diffuse your spirit. While individuals need inspiring goals to become larger than they perceive themselves to be, a small category of achievable operational goals goes a long way in building confidence and optimism in a team.
• Take the overall situation into account – Sometimes your team might exhibit exemplary performance, but the goal might still not be achieved due to a sudden policy change or change in the economic scenario. Failing to acknowledge such factors can not only affect team enthusiasm but also reduce the trust they place in your integrity and vision. So make room to evaluate such factors before judging achievement.
• Set ownership – A team is a diverse mix of people who not only have different skills but also different manners of expression. While some may be extremely vocal about their actions, some might prefer for their work to speak for themselves. While some are highly motivated to do their part, some might prefer to slack off whenever possible. In such situations, it’s often difficult to keep track of the team’s progress. Hence whenever there is more than one person involved in a particular goal it is important to actively involve all the concerned parties and to assign ownership and accountability. Each person then feels responsible for his or her actions, as well as a sense of pride about their contribution.