Goal Setting That Inspires

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Welcome to the new year! Bright eyed and bushy tailed, we emerge from our holi-daze and get to the business of looking into 2024. The company goals and objectives have (hopefully) been identified and as a leader of people, you are helping guide your team through a critical exercise. One that sets the tone for the year, identifying top priorities and milestones that tether the team to what’s truly important. I’m willing to bet that you’ve been involved in at least twice as many goal setting exercises that were some combination of vague, demotivating, and irrelevant vs. clear, inspiring, and valuable. How is this possible?  

Think about the people on your teams.  The individuals showing up or logging in every day, helping you and the business move into the future.  Chances are, you are their #1 source for information about where the business is heading and you are also the #1 conduit for the business to know who they are, what they do, and where they’re going.  Who else would be better equipped to inspire the work they’re doing in a meaningful way, and by meaningful, that includes both to the business AND to the employee? Here’s your chance to break the cycle of dull, impersonal, or foggy goals by incorporating aspects of the goal-setting process that will set you apart.

1. Goals need aspiration

Setting aspirational goals that align with a company’s mission, vision, and values fosters a sense of purpose and direction. Aspirational goals transcend mere tasks; they energize and motivate employees by connecting their daily efforts to a larger, meaningful context. When goals are fundamentally tied to a company’s mission, they become a driving force that brings that mission to life. Similarly, aligning goals with the company’s vision creates a roadmap to achieving overarching long-term objectives. Finally, grounding goals in the company’s values ensures that the pursuit of objectives is not only about achieving results but also about upholding principles integral to the organization’s identity. In this way, aspirational goals serve as a unifying force, rallying the collective efforts of the team toward a shared vision and reinforcing the organization’s commitment to its core values.

2. Goals require understanding

Clarity in goal setting is essential for effective communication, alignment, and successful execution within an organization. When goals are transparent and straightforward, individuals can align their efforts seamlessly, fostering a collective sense of purpose and direction. As the guide through this process, your ability to remove ambiguity enhances accountability and empowers team members to make informed decisions based on a shared understanding of the desired outcomes. The SMART framework does force a “clarity critique” of each goal, and if used consistently, can make goal definition efficient and effective.

3. Goals should be personal 

Professional goals that resonate on a personal level with people are more likely to evoke genuine motivation, dedication, and a sense of fulfillment. When employees see their unique talents and interests connected to their professional objectives, work becomes a meaningful journey aligned with individual growth and values. Personalized professional goals tap into intrinsic motivations, and the ability for a company to see, recognize, and value what motivates us as individuals optimizes the work we do as we achieve those goals. As a result, intertwining professional goals with personal dimensions enhances job satisfaction, engagement, and overall well-being, contributing to both individual success and organizational prosperity.

With these differentiators in mind, make setting goals memorable and meaningful with team members that will undoubtedly be leading their own teams someday.  Cheers to 2024!  Let’s get started!

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