The Importance of Setting Team Goals

Aaron Vick - The Importance of Setting Team Goals

Are you looking for ways to motivate your employees to be successful? Here’s why you should be focusing on setting team goals for your staff.

Using goal-setting techniques can increase employee motivation and performance.

Your team needs goals to ensure that together, all individuals are working towards the same outcome.

According to Barney and Griffin, organizational goals serve four basic functions:

  1. they provide guidance and direction
  2. facilitate planning,
  3. motivate and inspire employees,
  4. and help organizations evaluate and control performance.

Organizational goals help employees know where the organization is going and how it plans to get there.

As a manager, you need to make sure that your team is comfortable with the goals that you set for the team. You need to make sure that each and every one on the team is focused on achieving results.

Team Goals Versus Individual Goals

Setting individual tasks and goals removes the individual from the feeling of working together as a team. If an employee meets their personal goals, they are not invested in low results in another area. They think it has nothing to do with them.

This is why setting a common goal for your team is crucial.

Common goals are important because they develop creativity and innovation. Plus, team goals bring everyone together and encourage them to communicate.

Here are some tips to help make sure your team goals get results.

Make Team Goals Visible

How many of us have worked for a company and never read, heard or even knew about the mission statement? Having a goal is not real until it’s written down.

According to a study done by Gail Matthews at Dominican University, people who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than individuals who did not write their goals down.

For a team goal, that means making it visible somewhere everyone can see it. Maybe in the lunchroom, over the photocopier, or over the doorway.

Set Milestones

Some goals may be lofty. Your team might not be able to accomplish them in six months. Without milestones along the way, efforts may drop.

Milestones are team goals broken up into smaller (more manageable) bits. Milestones are the steps that need to be finished by a certain date. This is also the best way for you to track results.

Set personal and common milestones that would help your team members to keep on track and would allow them the flexibility to work together as much as needed.

Group Co-Dependent Goals

If your team is large enough to have two or more facets, your goals should be aligned.
For example, marketing and sales teams should work separately yet together. They have separate agendas but share a common goal. Their goal is to sell the best way possible.

Achieving exceptional goals means that tasks must be completed successfully by more than one department or team member. These are the smaller common goals that you need to set for your team.

If two or three team members feel that they have to work together or the results would not be acceptable, they are more likely to communicate and collaborate with their colleagues.

Set Motivations

Yes, the end result is for the project to be finished successfully. But that’s not the enough for your team, right? Think of additional motivations and seek your team’s opinion on it. Would they all love a day off? How about a fun team-building exercise (such as an escape room)? Will this success lead to a bigger project or company-wide recognition at a town hall?

There are a lot of things that can help individual team members focus on results.

Schedule Tracking Meetings

Goal-tracking meetings are excellent opportunities to identify problems, find solutions and take stock of where you are.

These meetings are beneficial to allow team members to be heard. Let them share their frustrations and successes. As everyone goes into these meetings with a “we” attitude, they are more likely to pitch in support.

Focus the discussion on the goal, not on the project itself. Talk about the problems that have come up. Also, discuss what each one of you could do to help meet the goal.

At these set meetings, brainstorm solutions. Be prepared to come with a loose agenda and let your team speak. Be ready to listen and explore other avenues you hadn’t considered.

Make sure everyone feels comfortable and doesn’t feel the need to defend themselves. At each successive meeting, your team will be more willing to open up and be more comfortable taking and giving feedback.

As the team feels heard, they will be re-focused and energized for the road ahead.

Remember to schedule these meetings well in advance. Perhaps halfway between milestones. Just make sure to keep these regular and laid-back.

Add Some Fun to Your Team Goals

Your goals are serious business.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t add a little joy to your team goals.

Have some fun.

  • Use the dry-erase board to track the number of successful days with emoji smile stickers.
  • Make a scoreboard that compares you to the best teams ever.
  • Make a goal-tracking puzzle.

Anything goes! Just find what works for your team’s personality.

Allow for Autonomy

Yes, I know I’ve just told you that you need to work as a team, not individuals.

In Dan Pink’s Ted Talk on motivation, he discusses the importance of autonomy when it comes to goal-based motivation.

Believe it or not, most employees want and need to know four things about their work so they can contribute and feel comfortable about where they are in the organization:

  • What do I need to accomplish?
  • Why am I doing what I’m doing?
  • How well must I do it?
  • How am I doing?

Even though you are working as a team, each member needs to feel their individuality and contributions matter.

Moving Forward

Having common team goals is a proven way to increase engagement and communication on your team.

Focusing on the common goal makes a good team great. Follow these tips to set successful team goals.

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