It’s not enough to just say you’re going to be more successful in the new year, you have to actually set goals for your team(s) – goals that are challenging but attainable – and map to those goals with as much result-focused data as possible.
Regardless of the size of your team, goals provide a focus and coordination to ensure all are working toward a common objective. The hardest part is figuring out what your goals are and how & when you are going to track your results. Here are simple steps to get you started so you can kick off the new year on the right foot:
If you haven’t already, establish your company’s values and expectations. All company goals should map to these as your “true north.” Values and expectations should be straightforward, easy to remember and guide every member of the team on how to win and behave. Here are VENTUREAPP’s values and expectations, for example.
Make goals clear and easy to understand. You’ll want to go into the process of setting goals with this frame of mind – clearly explain to your team why you’ve set the goals you’ve set, and how you expect the actions that support the goal to impact the business. Write all goals down and if possible keep documentation accessible and linked to your goal tracking mechanism or database so team members can refer back if they get confused or lost on on the objectives.
Determine if your company will set SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound, and are designed to create goal-based environments of productivity & enhanced performance. Some companies wish to create really difficult goals or encourage employees to make stretch goals that are potentially unattainable in order to foster creativity and thinking outside-the-box. There isn’t a right way or a wrong way necessarily. Ultimately it’s up to you to decide how to structure goals and what sort of environment you want to create with goal setting. You also need to have a solid understanding of your team, how they will react, what their output will be as a result, and how that will impact growth.
Factor in personal strengths and weaknesses. Even superstars have weaknesses – you are a team for a reason. Consider aligning goals to specific teammates that already excel in the area of the goal. This will be motivating to employees that strive for success, and increase engagement with that employee just purely given their interest and known ability to achieve the goal. Conversely, if you want a team member to expand their expertise, setting goals outside of their comfort area will increase the likelihood of learning. You could run into some areas of discouragement if that person feels overwhelmed or as if their goal is unattainable, but again, this is a business leader decision.
Communicate and ask for feedback. You want all team members to feel fully behind the goals that they will work towards day-in and day-out. Once the team understands and agrees upon your business’ key performance indicators (KPI’s) it should be easier to set and execute on relevant goals. Making goal setting an open and transparent process will ensure that any questions are answered, doubts are addressed, and unhappiness is settled – immediately.
Outline the tactics that support the goal. Goals can be overwhelming so the tactics that support them need to be outlined from the outset to break it down into actionable steps. This helps reduce any confusion about priorities week over week. For instance, it helps to work backwards from your goal. If you want to increase signups by 10% week over week, do the math to understand what the signup numbers looks like by quarter, month, week and day. Then attribute a percentage of the goal number across the tactics, by week or day, based on any early predictions you can make about what those tactics drive from a signup perspective. If the goal seems like a stretch with the tactics you outlined, explore other tactic avenues that might add to your goal.
Enforce a reporting structure. Goals should be monitored and reported on weekly to truly capture progress. Decide as a company the best structure and method for sharing. For example, our team keeps a master document for marketing goals that monitors weekly analytics sources (internal sources, Intercom, Google Analytics, Hootsuite, etc.) and within the document, holds each tactic accountable for a certain growth percentage. The team member responsible for each goal then reports on their KPIs at weekly all-hand standups to enforce accountability. We are big time hustlers anyways, but this works well for us.
Test those tactics and adjust. Just because you outline the activities and tactics that will help you reach your goals does not mean they are set in stone. If after a few weeks you aren’t seeing any traction as a result of that tactic, try reducing time spent on that and adding another.
Encourage an atmosphere of openness and collaboration. Your team is going to face roadblocks on the way to hitting their goals. While they should be responsible for presenting solutions to those challenges, make sure they know that your door is open to work together.
Goal setting is important, but more so is the data, reporting, accountability, diligence, and teamwork that goes into hitting each goal. Following this simple framework will enable your team to hit their goals and drive business growth.