We often talk of having goals both personally and in business but are they really that necessary? In this blog, we look at the importance of having goals and the difference between those we set for individuals and the wider company. We will also look at how you can use your employee’s individual goals to improve motivation and productivity.
How important are goals
Before we look at the difference between personal and team goals, I thought I would explore how important goals are. Is it possible to be as successful by “winging it” or in order to truly achieve great things do you have to get clear on what you want and aim high in what you strive for.
There are lots of quotes about goals from all manner of recognisable past icons; Henry Ford once said “obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal” and when taking a break from his painting Michelangelo was claimed to have said “The great danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark”. My favourite was one that totally resonated and is from Lawrence J. Peter “If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.”
Does it matter that I had never heard of Mr Peter, no not really, but the point he is making did ring true for me. I believe that without a purpose, you can tick over but you will never really meet your potential. This is the same if you have a team; doing a job each day without any bigger picture very soon becomes meaningless and performance is affected.
Having a goal or a set of goals provides the perspective required to strive forwards and the initial and day to day motivation to remain focused.
I will openly admit that at the beginning of 2020 I was struggling to set new goals for the business as I had reached a bit of a cross roads. Then Covid happened! There is nothing like a global pandemic and your business grinding to a halt to enable you to fully realise exactly what you want. Off the back of this situation I developed a razor focus, initially on bringing the team back from furlough and since then our performance has gone on to exceed what we achieved in 2019.
A much talked about Harvard Business Study confirmed that those who set goals went on to be 10 times more successful than those who did not. This number increases even further for those who have written goals!
What are individual goals
Personal goals are objectives that you set out to achieve for yourself as an individual and they can relate to skills, character, physical wellbeing and your career. Arguably as an employer you may only be concerned by the goals a person has for their career or skill set however I believe that by tuning in to what matters to your people in all aspects of their lives, you discover their “why” and unlock the key to keeping them motivated in their work. It’s definitely important for both parties to set key objectives for each team member to achieve in any given period, for example achieving a certain qualification or indeed reaching an income target. For the employer, the end result is important because more qualified people in turn creates a more skilled team and increased level of service for the customer and achieving income target is critical to business growth.
In order to use these goals to motivate, you must first understand the values of the person and what is most important to them. Some people are driven by money and material things therefore the income target and associated earnings could be attached to material gain. Identifying what the material gain looks and feels like can then be linked directly to what actions and milestones a person needs to achieve weekly in order to realise the end goal.
On the flip side, if what matters most to a person is “doing a good job” or receiving recognition the goal is very different and therefore the tools used to motivate and reward need to reflect that.
Naturally individual goals relating to physical health, wellbeing, fitness, emotional development if reached can all have positive consequences for the business. Improvements in health and wellbeing can reduce absence and lead to improved productivity overall. People that are generally happier and more positive, ensure that the culture of the business remains buoyant and upbeat and can provide a positive influence for those that may be struggling.
What are team goals
Team goals are those that collectively your employees are striving to meet and before you set these it is important to ensure that they are aligned to your company objectives. It makes sense that if you have particular growth plans or ambitions around culture, that you set team goals that contribute towards these.
Setting team goals can definitely be as affective as those on an individual basis because it improves productivity of the whole team and helps people to feel very connected to the overall business strategy.
It is common to have team income targets but you could also include standards of service provision, activity measures or even social media related goals around numbers of followers/engagement etc.
What should you consider when setting team goals;
- Goals need to be “SMART” – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely
- Ensure your team are involved in the setting process so that they are completely engaged and onboarded
- Document the goals and make them readily available
- Track your progress together on a regular basis
Things to help you achieve Goals – individual and team
There are some simple steps you can follow to assist you ensuring that not only you achieve your goals as a business but that you are equipped in helping your team attain theirs too;
- Set a realistic timescale for when you want to have achieved the goal by
- Get clear on and put in place the actions that you need to take which will enable the goal to be reached
- Regularly track progress against the wider outcome
- Set some form of accountability
- Give or ensure there are support systems in place such as coaches, buddies etc
It is clear that setting goals can only add value to a company and a person and they don’t have to be over complicated to start with. Version one is better than version none!
If you want to find out where your business is now in order to set your goals for 2021, visit our Business Assessment tool https://www.elitestaffingsolutions.co.uk/business-assessment/
Call the team at Elite for more help and advice on building the best team.