To get someone to emotionally commit to the goal you’re setting, you need to understand why it matters to them. Learn how to tie your goal to the metrics of other people to generate buy in.
- A famous leadership story is about a visit by President Kennedy to the Johnson Space Center. As the story goes, J.F.K. walked up to a janitor, introduced himself and asked the man what he was doing. The janitor replied well, Mr. President, I'm helping put a man on the moon. In 1962 the whole country was rallying to get to the moon and this man's commitment, his emotional engagement was a big part of why we made it. Let me tell you the three things every goal needs to have if you want your goal to be more than a company slogan.
And to effectively motivate people a goal must have a deadline. Our brains don't cope so well with forever. It's abstract and it makes us confused and uncomfortable. So, while improving customer satisfaction might be a goal that never truly ends, you have to put a timeline to sustain engagement. If your goal is to improve customer satisfaction, saying reduce the return rate by five percent this year is something measurable to grasp hold of and work towards.
Goals need to be specific. Don't have a goal that's up for interpretation. It needs to be crystal clear what the win looks like. If you're struggling with this, if you have a more abstract goal, like improve employee engagement, link it back to behaviors. For example, if you want people to care about the success of a new product, defining what success looks like gives everyone something to buy into. It might be market growth, upselling current customers or online interest.
You decide but make sure it's not up for interpretation otherwise you'll have people saying it's been achieved when it hasn't. Specificity is key for engagement and then of course, there needs to be value. To get someone to emotionally commit to the goal you're setting, you need to understand why it matters to them. When you're asking for support, don't use your own metrics, use the metrics of the person you're asking.
We were working with a big pharmaceutical firm last year. Lisa ran a session with the senior leaders who were focused on growing market share. They had some long-term targets for each country and we worked together to come up with a strategy. It was my job to make sure every one knew about it and bought in. This means I had to make the win clear for every department. It was a long-term strategy but sales managers are focused on this year, so I showed them how this growth strategy would start to grow their average account size almost immediately.
With marketing, I talked about how expanding our markets means more web traffic which gives them an opportunity to connect with even more buyers online. I had to tie that big long-term strategy back to what these departments care about today and the same is true for you. If you're talking about goals, and you want to keep people emotionally engaged, tell them it matters to them. Goals that have a deadline, that are specific and that are presented in a way that gets everyone emotionally involved are much more likely to be accomplished.
- Assessing where you need emotional engagement
- Aligning with organizational objectives
- Determining who to engage
- Using your backstory to tap into emotional engagement
- Preemptive planning
- Neutralizing the naysayers
- Identifying and talking about incremental gains