Lock targets, achieve goals
Mastering the art of setting relevant goals
Why goals matter
The act of setting goals, intended to increase employee motivation (forward looking) & to assess their performance (looking back), also helps in increasing the focus of the employees, provides them a direction and helps them succeed. Clear and concise goals help employees distinguish between irrelevant tasks and goal-oriented ones, focusing on activities that are easily accessible & highly relatable. The clear nature of key results expected also assists to Re-architect Work, which provides the team with a direction and frees them to chart the best way to arrive at the solution.
The goals set under OKRs must be of appropriate difficulty, so that employees can innovate. It is a well-documented fact that goals that do not challenge as well as the ones that are overly difficult tend to demotivate employees. Finding this sweet spot for all employees is truly a herculean task, where each and every employee has different goals that lead to a positive outcome on their project.
To set such goals, traditional goal-setting beliefs need to be discarded.
Listed below are a few ‘NO’s while setting goals.
Assigning same goals to multiple employees, according to their job titles
Such goals are job descriptions – the kind of work employees do to achieve something. Let them focus on a clear finish line, from where they can clearly see the progress made by the company and themselves.
No pre-planned feedback meetings, progress updates, check-ins
Reviewing goals at regular intervals and receiving constructive feedback from managers, nudge employees to pursue their goals with enthusiasm. Coupled with a honest update about how their efforts have furthered the company, these meetings can give them a sense of accomplishment.
No clear definitions of success & failure attached to the goal
Traditional goals like ‘Quality of deliverables must be adhered to’ provide no objective measure, and are open to different interpretations. Such goals should be avoided.
Goals are evaluated only at the time of annual reviews
In the modern goal setting, Goals are a tool for forward looking development, not as a means for backward-looking performance reviews.
Before setting goals, assessing the current state is essential.
The department that owns the goal setting process, be it HR or Ops, should document responses to the questions that evaluate the status quo.
You can access a sample questionnaire here.
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