“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.” This is a quote by the renowned Renaissance artist – Michelangelo.
With this gentle reminder from Michelangelo, lets examine the term goal.
What is meant by the term Business Goal?
A business goal, describes what a company expects or hopes to accomplish over a specific period. They provide a blueprint for a company’s actions and keep it headed in the right direction.
A business goal is an endpoint, accomplishment or target an organization wants to achieve in the short term or long term.
Please Note that..
It is important that the business goal set is challenging but achievable. If it is an impossible goal and the team doubts their ability to achieve it, it will decrease their drive to reach the goal. At the same time, if the goals seem too far away in the future, they are less likely to maintain the motivation to see it through.
When setting business goals, two of the most beneficial frameworks to use are SMART goals and OKR s. Below is a breakdown of both methodologies to help you decide which one will work best for you and your team:
What are SMART Goals
They are goals which are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely
“SMART” is an acronym or mnemonic – with each letter representing a characteristic of how goals should be:
Specific – Contain well-defined central objectives
Measurable – Have a quantifiable element to serve as an indicator of success
Assignable (now referred to as “attainable”) Have a designated person for the task or goal
Realistic (commonly referred to as “relevant”) Must work within the frame of an individual or group’s capabilities with consideration to time, resources and priorities
Time-related – Have an established deadline for each goal
OKRs stand for “Objectives and Key Results.
It is a collaborative goal-setting methodology used by teams and individuals to set challenging, ambitious goals with measurable results. OKRs are how you track progress, create alignment, and encourage engagement around measurable goals.
This recent OKR example by Google is part of its new sustainability initiative as they develop a more product-based line:
Design products and services for circularity and reuse materials at their highest environmental and social value.
Difference between SMART and OKRs goals
On a surface level, OKRs and SMART goals may look quite similar. After all, they are both goal-setting methods.
SMART goals are one-off goals set for smaller projects and they don’t have any direct or established connection to higher-level goals. SMART goals provoke the question “what is the goal?” Yet OKRs ask “what is the goal and how do we get there?
Goals can be both: Individual goals and Organizational goals
While Organizational goals are framed for different levels of the organization, individual goals on the other hand represent the goals of people working in the organization.
It is therefore vital that individual goals are aligned with those of the organization as it helps to sustain employee motivation by helping employees measure the impact of their actions. When individuals understand how their personal goals relate to one another and to the larger goals of the organization, collaboration, and team cohesiveness increases.
Importance of planning in Goal setting:
Planning Ahead : “If You Fail to Plan, You Are Planning to Fail” — Benjamin Franklin. What he meant was that basically success doesn’t happen by accident.
It takes planning, knowing where you are heading and how you will get there. It helps us see in advance those things that can help us achieve our goal and those things that can prevent us from achieving our goal and work out what to do about them.
Why is goal-setting as a team crucial?
- Collaboration : According to research, one of the benefits of team goal setting is that it drives the aspect of collaboration. By working together towards one goal, employees share skills, build comradeship and trust and this leads to success.
- Clarity and focus: On any given day, individuals in a team are tasked with making choices. With team goals set, you eliminate the need for teams to wonder what they should give their attention to on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It gives the team focus and clarity in achieving the targets set by the organization.
- Team alignment: Team goals are key for keeping everyone aligned and working towards the same aims, whilst allowing people to have autonomy over their work.
- Provides Motivation: When you set goals as a team, your employees will see the value of their work, which motivates them by showing them their stake in the company.
- Keeping employees in the loop in terms of wider organizational goals means people understand the wider purpose of what they are doing, and appreciate the value of their work .
- Synergy: Team goals also help employees evolve from individual workers to a more effective and synergic team, whilst allowing them to have autonomy over their work.
Here are 5 tips on How to Set Team Goals Effectively.
- Link it to the big picture
Explaining how the team goals are productive and useful in fulfilling the company’s vision is crucial for 2 reasons.
Firstly, employees will strive less for a goal if they don’t know why they have been set. Explaining the goals set and linking it back to the company’s vision shows your employees their stake in the company and the relevance of their work.
Secondly, it reiterates your company’s core values and mission. Only about 1 in 10 HR leaders believe that 80% or more of their employees are able to recite core values. Linking your team goals back to the company’s vision will improve your team’s understanding of the company, increasing employee engagement.
- Letting people develop their own goals
After defining your team goals, give your team the time and autonomy to determine their own goals relating to the team ones.
- Setting specific deadlines
Without a deadline, no goal can serve its purpose. Discussing and setting specific deadlines help the team to develop accountability.
- Document your goals
A Harvard Business Study revealed that the 14% of its surveyed population are 10 times more successful than those without goals, and the 3% with written goals were three times more successful than the 14% with unwritten goals. The physical act of writing down a goal allows us to perceive it as real and tangible, and leaves us no excuse to forget about it.
This can be as simple as writing your team goals on a white board (in person or virtual), or as complex as collaborating on a team vision board. What’s important is that it’s visible to everyone so that it can remind your team what you should all be working towards.
- Set aside time to check in
Regular check-ins not only help to track your team’s progress, checking in with your team as a group and individually can help reiterate your dedication to helping them achieve team and personal goals.
That’s what goal setting is all about. Failure to do may result in misunderstandings, delayed projects, conflicts and diminished performance.
Failing at the task of effectively setting team goals which link to wider organizational aims is detrimental to the productivity of your employees. If they don’t know why they are being assigned a given task or unclear where that task fits in a larger vision, they are less likely to feel a drive to do it. Hence, one can never underestimate the power of setting team goals.