Use goal setting to give visibility to your business strategy
To set the scene, you have determined your business strategy and have identified a number of objectives for your business. These could be objectives for new business origination, client satisfaction, process and productivity improvement, profitability improvement, the satisfaction and engagement of your workforce.
One thing is for sure, delivery of the objectives you have set for the business will be in the hands of more than one individual.
So what can be done to ensure the objectives are met? Ultimately it is about motivating a range of people to deliver.
The goal theory of motivation has long been accepted as a valuable contributor to personal and corporate success. Essentially the theory states that specific and challenging goals, along with appropriate feedback contribute to higher and better levels of task performance.
Why bother with goals?
Why is it important to set goals? Goals drive desired behaviour. Goals help you establish priorities. They get people to focus on the right things to the exclusions of others, in effect creating cohesion of effort. A clear set of goals helps advance the organisation’s agenda. Those goals are going to help you achieve the broader goals that the organisation sets. Consider this. Let’s imagine you worked for a car manufacturer in the days of manual assembly. You have received some training but you’re not given specific goals. You’re just put on the assembly line and told, “Go to work.” How are you likely to behave? Will you work fast? Will you be cautious and focus on quality? Do you work on finishing one car before starting another or will you work on individual assemblies and then pull it all together at the end? Do you know how your efforts contribute to the organisation’s success? Do you know how your reward is linked to reaching organisational objectives?
This might be an extreme hypothetical example, but it does serve to illustrate the point which is that in the absence of goals, you will likely behave however you think is best, as opposed to how the organisation wishes you to behave. Now you may get lucky and do exactly what the organisation wants you to do or you may find out you’re doing exactly what they don’t want you to do. By following a rigorous goal setting process, you will drive the right behaviours across the entire organisation.
Perhaps then endeavor to breakdown your strategy into a range of interdependent goals and cascade them through your business, keeping line of sight to overarching goals. Done correctly, this should provide a motivational “tour de force” to propel the delivery of your strategy.
When using goal setting keep these aspects of the process in mind;
- The willingness to work towards the attainment of the goal becomes the main source of motivation.
- Coerciveness when goal setting will not work. A coaching approach will work.
- Clear, concise and stretching goals are greater motivating factors than easy, general and vague goals.
- Specific and clear goals lead to greater output and better performance. Unambiguous, measurable and clear goals accompanied by a deadline for completion avoids misunderstanding.
- Goals should be realistic and challenging. This gives an individual a feeling of pride and triumph when he/she attains them, and sets him/her up for attainment of the next goal. The more challenging the goal, the greater is the reward generally and the more is the passion for achieving it.
- Constructive and appropriate feedback of results directs the employee’s behaviour and contributes to higher performance than absence of feedback. Feedback is a means of gaining reputation, making clarifications and regulating goal difficulties. It helps employees to work with more involvement and leads to greater job satisfaction.
- Employee participation in goal setting makes the goal more acceptable.
- To get commitment make goals open, known and broadcast them. Publicly support and celebrate success.
- Create a culture of carrots, not sticks. Reward should be monetary and non-monetary.
- High levels of workplace motivation will be an essential ingredient to success.
- Linking goals to a common sense of purpose will motivate.
- Use visual reporting to display progress.
Increasingly, agile and resilient organisations are using goal setting to drive delivery of strategy.
If you would like to know more, or if we can help, contact us.
Source Colin Morrell, Mutarem Management.