Don’t let your business goals go the same way as this year’s New Year’s Resolutions

Monday 23 January 2017

Goals are a great way to focus your business and to promote change. In this blog Mark McDermott considers how to set your goals to maximise the chance of success.

It’s now half way through January, and therefore the perfect time to reflect on the progress of your New Year’s resolutions. Have you managed to stay on track with that weight loss goal? Have you stuck to your new fitness plan? Or has that chocolate biscuit got the better of you? Whether your New Year’s resolution is currently on track or not, the mere act of setting a target is a great way to focus the mind and think reflectively. Likewise, businesses often use the New Year as a catalyst for change and an opportunity to re-set their own goals.  However, like our own personal goals, business goals can sometimes fall by the wayside. This then begs the question – what separates the successful resolution and target from falling foul of that proverbial chocolate biscuit? How can we ensure our business goals are a success? And if your target is slipping away from you, what can be done to turn around the situation?

So why does setting goals matter?
Intuitively, we can all see the value of setting goals in terms of achievement and motivation - and academic research certainly backs this up.  Work by Locke and Latham has identified four key reasons why goal setting impacts on performance:

How to set effective goals for your frontline teams
For frontline managers, goal setting and supporting your people to achieve these aims is no easy task – get it right and you will reap the rewards. Get it wrong and you might see an underperforming, demotivated team with a high turnover.

Amy Gallo in her article “Making sure your employees succeed” provides some useful tips:-

Management by Objectives
The well-known mnemonic, SMART, developed by Peter Drucker, is a useful checklist for effective goal setting:

Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Realistic
Time defined

However, the SMART approach does underplay the role of the frontline manager in helping their teams achieve their goals. By monitoring milestones, providing on-going support, workplace coaching and, where necessary, challenging underperformance, managers can make an important contribution to their teams in achieving their goals.

This approach is relevant for both business and personal goals–  writing SMART objectives is a great way to ensure both personal and business success.

If you would like to discuss goal setting and developing the skills of your frontline managers, please do get in touch. We would love to hear from you.

Further Reading:
Building a practical useful theory of goal setting and task motivation. A 35 year odyssey
Edwin A. Locke Gary P. Latham, America Psychologist 2001
“Making sure your employees succeed”
Amy Gallo, HBR 2011

This post was written by

Mark BW McDermott

Account Director

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