In today’s world goals are more important than ever and many leaders struggle with goals. If you weren’t good at goals in 2019 there is a good chance you are still struggling with them today. Helping clients set and achieve goals there are some common challenges leaders have getting goals to work properly in their company. Here are five common challenges and how to work through them:
- Setting goals that are not SMART. There is so much online about SMART and some of the information is so complicated. Here is what SMART means; S=Specific, M=Measurable, A=Attainable, R=Relevant, T=Time Bound or Timely. So is the goal written in a way that clearly identifies the outcome (S) and is measurable (M), making sure I have the abilities to attain (A), with a clear relevance (R) or purpose of why we have the goal, and last when will the goal be complete (T) a date? If not the odds on hitting the goal is small.
- Clarity on the WHO. Who is going to be responsible for what tasks within the SMART goal and what actions will people need to take to get the result they are looking for? Not having one person who is accountable or screaming loudly when the goal is not on track is often missed. Also, not understanding who has the authority to make decisions that need to be made on issues or opportunities that come up within the goal is often assumed and not clarified so goals stall.
- The goal measurements being lagging instead of leading. So many goals have a lagging measure, the lagging measure is really the outcome of the goal. You need to measure the activity that leads you to the result. For example, bring in 20 new customers, that is the lagging measure. What activities do you need to do to get to the 20? If it takes 100 calls to get 5 appointments that lead to1 new customer then you could have two leading measures 100 calls and 5 appointments to get to the result of 20 new customers.
- Having a goal, you do not have control of accomplishing. I have seen leaders say I was waiting for Gary to get X done so I could not realize my goal because Gary did not get X done. What? The goals you set must be in your control or they cannot be a goal. In other words, if Gary is the only one that can do X and Gary is not involved in agreeing to the outcome of my goal then it is not in our control. If Gary does buy in and understand his role in the outcome of the goal, then Gary can be part of the goal and now we have control.
- Leaders not checking in on the goal to make sure it is moving or getting done. In item 3 above, I wrote about measurements. Measurements can be fudged or exaggerated and thinking employees wont fudge or exaggerate them is insanity. As a leader you need to trust but verify and many leaders do too much trusting and not verifying and in week 10 of a 13-week goal they realize the goal won’t be met. Remember team members perceptions of done and the reality of done may be two different things. If I do not verify there could be a huge gap. Trust but verify.
If you think about these five items when setting, monitoring and accomplishing a goal you will see better outcomes. Goals are powerful if they are used correctly. If they are not used correctly, goals can actually demotivate your team. I have not met one leader yet that wanted to demotivate their team with goals. However, mistakes are part of the learning, use the mistake to hit the next goal, don’t let failure stop you. Leaders often ignore goal setting because it is hard, nothing ever worth having is easy.
David Chavez – Coach | Assured Strategy