Learn how to set relevant goals. Relevant goals are logically connected to the desired outcome. If the goal doesn't matter to the organization or to the leader, the team won't understand why they're working on it. While creating a goal of knitting 18 sweaters by December is specific, measurable, actionable it is not relevant for the head director of the ER at a large hospital. It is not relevant and they will not get behind the work.
- The next characteristic of a good goal is that the goal is relevant. If the goal doesn't matter to the organization or to the leader, the team won't understand why they're working on it. Let's say I set a goal for my team of, "I want you to knit 18 sweaters by the end of December." That goal is really specific, it's really measurable, and it's very achievable. The this is, it might not be relevant, especially if I'm the head of the emergency room at a large hospital, and I'm giving people a goal of knitting sweaters.
Now this is an extreme example, but many times we'll set goals that aren't relevant to the outcome we're trying to drive. If I want sales growth, I'm likely more interested in actual dollars of incremental sales versus measuring new customers acquired. Why? It would seem like measuring new customer will tie to my sales goals. But here's the problem. If I set a goal for new customers versus sales dollars, my team might not demonstrate the behaviors I want.
They may go out and sign up a whole bunch of customers, but they may all be really tiny. If I tell them I want sales dollars, they'll go out and try to find the bigger customers to drive toward that goal. It's more relevant. The goal should tie directly to the desired outcome. If you can't explain how the goal drives behavior in one or two steps, that goal isn't relevant enough to drive the behavior change you're looking for.
When you look at many companies that have launched internet businesses, they're always setting goals for things like unique visits to their website, number of registered customers. But if the company is trying to drive overall revenue, those goals may be relevant, but they're not as relevant as they could be. They aren't clearly tied to the desired outcome of driving sales growth. A more relevant goal may be increasing the number of paying subscribers, or increasing average revenue per customer.
Those are more closely tied to the primary goal of driving overall revenue. When you set your goals, you should be able to directly link the goal to the behavior you're trying to change. And the shorter the distance between those two concepts, the more likely it is your team will behave in a manner that's consistent with driving the goal you're trying to achieve.
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