Goal-setting has been described as ‘the inner technology of success’. It is one of your organisation’s most important activities. Unless taken seriously, this vital planning task will be futile, producing only a few high-sounding intentions that, for various reasons, are soon forgotten. So, if you want challenging and achievable goals, you should consider these basic principles…
1. Make sure your goals are realistic.
A goal that aims too high, or offers a great deal of risk, with little chance of achievement, leads to frustration and surrender. It’s easy, for example, to say that a goal for the year is: ‘To increase production by 150%’ – but quite unrealistic with inadequate resources and uncommitted staff.
2. Keep them simple.
If goals are complex, it is unlikely they will be clear and specific enough to focus effort and marshal the necessary resources. Clear simple goals give staff an unmistakable vision of what needs to be done.
3. Develop your goals participatively.
When goals are imposed, rarely does anyone become committed to them. Develop goals with those who will be responsible for achieving them – your staff. The goals become a matter of record and, through personal involvement, everyone will be more motivated to work towards their attainment.
4. Know why you have set each goal.
For every goal you set down, ask why you believe that goal is important to the organisation. Be persistent in getting an answer. If reasons don’t measure up to your expectations, revise the goal until it warrants inclusion – or get rid of it.
5. Make your goals specific and measurable.
Goals should be specific rather than vague, and quantitative rather than qualitative. For example, rather than proposing that you should ‘become more visible’ around the factory or office, it is more focused to state that ‘I will spend at least one hour a day mixing with staff in the workplace’ and ‘I will meet weekly with floor supervisors’.
6. Write goals with accountability in mind.
The successful accomplishment of goals usually depends on someone being held responsible for each goal. This often creates a sense of urgency and purpose, especially when personal reputation or career advancement is involved.