Once you’ve developed a game plan for achieving your team’s goals, it is time to translate that game plan into individual goals for each team member. These goals should be set in a collaborative manner, not dictated or imposed by the team leader. When people participate in creating their own plans and setting their own goals, their buy-in is enhanced, their attitudes are improved, and they will work harder to achieve the desired outcomes. Manipulation and coercion do not mix well with team members achieving their goals.
The key to successfully setting individual goals is a sharp focus, engendered by the leader, on setting clear, smart goals and outlining definitive actions to support them. There are five key characteristics to which individual strategic plans and goals should adhere.
They should be:
- Specific: What will be achieved? Who else is involved in or must contribute to achieving this goal?
- Measurable: How will progress or success be measured–quantity, quality, financials, time? How will we know when the goal has been achieved?
- Attainable: Can the goal be achieved? Do we have control over the outcome? Does it have enough flexibility to recover from unexpected changes?
- Relevant: Does this goal support the team’s strategic goals? The company’s strategic goals? Does it tie in to the game plan?
- Time-framed: When does this need to be completed? When are the checkpoints?
Together, these criteria make a goal SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-framed. Setting goals and achieving them are two completely different things, but if you set SMART, positive goals you create action that will drive you toward success. For instance, if you are trying to lose weight you might say, “I aim to lose ten pounds by improving my eating habits and increasing my exercise.” Is this a SMART, positive goal? No!
A different way of phrasing the goal to make it specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-framed, and positive would be, “I will lose one pound weekly over the course of ten weeks, which will reduce me to my ideal weight. I will achieve this by increasing my intake of fruit to three pieces daily, having four vegetables with dinner, and reducing sugars, fats, and simple carbohydrates to less than 10 percent of my food intake. My exercise program will be thirty minutes of brisk walking or a thirty-minute workout in a gym five times weekly.”
If you are a salesperson aiming to achieve six sales per week, you will set your goal knowing your pipeline success rate in locating prospects, obtaining interviews, and closing the sale. So you might describe your goal as, “I will do telephone prospecting two hours daily or until I have a minimum of twenty appointments set for the following week. If my closure rate on appointment to sale falls below my established 30 percent, I will work on my interviewing skills to bring closure rate back to minimum 30 percent. If my closure rate stays below 30 percent for two successive weeks, I will ask my manager to attend interviews with me to analyze my techniques and call prospects who did not accept to provide me with feedback. I will then take action to make the necessary adjustments and have my manager monitor my progress daily until I am consistently achieving my goal of six sales weekly.”
When you and your employee have written the goals, check whether they meet the SMART, positive criteria. Once the goals are set, reviewing them daily is critical and should become a ritual. Ask your employees to review their goals and visualize how they will feel upon achieving the completed goal each morning, and then repeat the process each evening. This aligns the conscious and subconscious mind and inculcates the positive thoughts of attaining the goal.
“An unwritten want is a wish, a dream, a never happen. The day you put your goal in writing is the day it becomes a commitment that will change your life. Are you ready?”
-Tom Hopkins, author and motivational speaker
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