The How And Why of Great Goal Setting
One of the greatest privileges and responsibilities of leadership from my perspective is helping teams and individuals grow and develop. Unfortunately, though, this isn’t an automatic process: it takes intentionality, focus and energy, but the rewards are worth it!
Think about leaders you have worked for who have been invested in your growth. Did you notice that you were most likely highly engaged, effective and experiencing a sense of confidence and well-being? Did you have a sense of clarity of what you were responsible for achieving and to what standard?
People who have clear goals are more likely to experience these outcomes, yet research suggests that as few as three percent of the population have written goals. Without goals, it is difficult for you to experience a sense of growth because you have nothing to measure your progress against. Also, when you set goals, you activate your brain to start finding solutions to help move you toward fulfilling them, so you are more likely to be successful.
Jack Canfield, author of Success Principles, says this: ‘Vague goals produce vague results’ and unfortunately, this is the outcome of goal setting conversations that many leaders have with their team members. So, how can you have an effective goal setting conversation?
Here are four keys:
1. Context – Have you discussed the strategic drivers for this goal in a way that is meaningful for your employee? What are the key factors that need to be considered? Who are the key players that need to be consulted?
2. Connection – Have you provided a clear line of sight between the goal and the purpose of your organisation and team. Many employee engagements studies have found that this is one of the strongest factors for high engagement levels.
3. Clarity – Does your understanding of what needs to be achieved, to what standard and how it will be measured, match your employee’s understanding? The SMART methodology is a great way of checking you are both on the same page!
4. Confidence – How does your employee feel about their capacity to deliver on the goals. If there is self-doubt it will lead to procrastination and avoidance and will waste your time and theirs. Better to have the conversation up front so you can help set them up for success by finding out what support, development or resources they might need.
Investing time in setting goals well not only helps your team members to achieve them and thereby build their capability and confidence, it will save you time as the need for rework and revision will be minimised.