Goal Setting

Set Realistic Performance Goals

It’s important for goals to be difficult to achieve, to challenge us. However, too much of a challenge can cause extreme stress leading to burnout. A study from Gallup reveals setting realistic performance goals is a better indicator of work-life balance than allowing flexible work arrangements. For those employees who are at risk of burnout, revisit their goals to determine if they are realistic, or if they need adjusting.

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Use Data to Action Plan

Collecting data is meaningless if we aren’t analyzing the data for opportunities and improvements. After data has been collected, analyzed, and shared, develop an action plan using information from these discussions. Set a challenging but achievable goal. Resist the temptation to set too many goals and stick to 1-3 to focus on.

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From Strategy to Action

Are the organization’s broad goals converted into measurable annual goals? What actions are necessary to accomplish those annual goals? Who owns those actions? Setting and communicating defined annual goals as an executive leader is a vital first step to achieve organization-wide alignment. Team leaders can then determine what quarterly priorities will define success and which of their team members will be responsible for taking action. Progress and results are reported back to the executive leader in relation to the annual plan.

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Align Actions to Strengths

When aligning the goals of the organization to actions for specific employees, first consider each employee’s strengths. To increase employee engagement and productivity, distribute the actions according to each individual’s strengths.

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SMART Goal Audit

Conduct a SMART goal audit to confirm the alignment of goals with organizational strategy and leadership expectations. Starting with your goal statement, identify the specific action verb. Next, describe the unit of measure and the data source. Then, determine how you know the goal is achievable, yet challenging. Do you have a baseline for evidence? Identify the strategic priority the goal is aligned to and the time frame for completion.

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Illustrate Goals Visually

Use a scorecard, stoplight report, or another tool to visually present yearly goals. This tool can be used in meetings to show the progress toward goals and make necessary adjustments if progress isn’t being made. Achieving goals becomes more likely if we have a constant focus on the actions being taken to attain success.

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Assign a Champion of the Goal

The organization’s executive leader determines the champion to own each of the goals and its achievement. The focus of the champion is always on how to reach or surpass the target. This is the person responsible for reporting out results at regular intervals and for identifying areas of success. The champion also facilitates discussion of strategy implementation and any needed changes or adjustments. These discussions and decisions always revolve around hitting the goal and increasing performance.

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One Step at a Time

Annual or 90-day goals broken into bite-sized pieces create the opportunity for small, achievable wins that build momentum and confidence within the team. Use these small achievements as an opportunity to celebrate progress towards the goal.

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Align Awards to Performance

Everyone makes a difference in the organization. Spend time during quarterly strategy sessions awarding individuals who have reached specific performance outcomes.

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Identify the Actions

Which actions will produce 80% of the quarterly goal results? Identifying which actions produces the majority of the results will align individual behavior to organizational goals.

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Breaking Down Goals

Put your goals into bite-size pieces that are attainable in 90 days. A 90-day plan is the roadmap to success.

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Goals Should Be Easy to See

Define your goals, write them down, and stay focused on them. Be distinctive and specific. You should be able to tell anyone your goals in a sentence or two. During your daily tasks, ask yourself which goal you are working towards accomplishing.

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Work Towards Annual Goals Daily

Break your 90-day goals down to weekly goals and monitor your progress each week. 90-day planning focuses on the 90-day priorities and actions that will move you closer to achievement of your annual goals. Viewing annual goals in smaller portions will keep you aligned to the right goals.

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Start Small

Start moving barriers today by writing down your top three obstacles. “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan

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