If a goal is too extreme, people won't try. If it's too easy, people won't care or see it as meaningful. People need to feel they can be successful which includes the notion of them having or being able to build the skills to achieve the goal as well as having the resources and support required to achieve it.
- Another characteristic of a good goal is that that goal is achievable. If a goal is too extreme, people won't even try. You may have heard of the term, big hairy audacious goals. That sounds great. Let's set a huge goal for the team and they'll try really hard to achieve it. The thing is those types of goals can be very demotivating. The team looks at it and they say, "We don't even have a chance, we're guaranteed to fail "so you know what, forget it, I'm not even gonna try." Now, if a goal is too easy, people won't care about it or see it as meaningful.
"Oh, 1% improvement, no problem, I can do that in my sleep." And then what happens, they don't focus on it and they fail to have any impact. You need to balance how achievable a goal is. It can't be too easy. It can't be too hard. People need to feel like they can be successful, which includes the notion of them having the skills or being able to build the skills required to achieve that goal. You'll also need to make sure that they have the resources and support available to achieve it.
I worked with a team that was responsible for reducing our customer cancels. We had customers and they would call up and cancel our service on a regular basis. The team was given a goal, "Reduce cancels by 20%." The team kinda freaked out at that. First, it was a huge number, 20%. Their eyes popped out of their heads when they heard that number. The thing that made it even less achievable was they didn't have control over the relationship with the customer.
The team was going to have to work through others in order to achieve this goal. The team looked at the goal, they said, "That's not achievable. "There's no way we can ever hit that number, "and we don't have the ability to get that goal done, "so you know what, forget it," and the team wrote it off and they accepted failure right from the get-go because the goal wasn't achievable. When you set a goal, ask your team "Is this something that you care about? "Is this something you think you can achieve? "Do you have the skills? "Do you have the support? "Do you have the resources to make this happen?" Now, the team could be uncomfortable when you set a big goal.
That's okay as long as they have some sense that if they work really hard and everything comes together that they're going to be able to hit that number, so take a step back, look at your goals, and ask, "Is this something that's achievable?" If not, revise the goal until it's something that is.
Along with providing guidance on how to link individual employee goals to organizational strategy, Mike walks you through the different types of goals, including bottom-up, zero-based, commit, and stretch goals. He also helps you use goals to change behaviors, build new skills among employees, and make goals actionable by using incentives and tying them to specific activities. He concludes with a comprehensive plan for setting and implementing goals, and some tips on dealing with challenges such as conflicting goals.
- Identifying goals and goal types
- Setting SMART goals
- Linking goals to business strategy
- Building goals from the bottom up or top down
- Creating stretch goals
- Outlining activities and resources to help employees achieve goals
- Reviewing and revising goals
- Reconciling conflicting goals