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4 Tips for Making Goal Setting Work

November 16, 2019

Companies that focus on goals tend to do better across the board. Alignment and output are higher, employees feel more connected and engaged, and the sense of mission and purpose is more clear. Getting your company to that point takes some work, but it's worth the effort.

Goal setting is a muscle that companies build over time. You don't go from zero to well-oiled machine overnight — it usually takes months for companies to make this transition.

The hardest part is getting started, so we wanted to share some of the top goal-setting tips from our most successful customers at Lattice.

1. Set clear company goals and reiterate them often.

Clear company goals help everyone on the team determine what should be their own top priorities and help people make better decisions when facing trade-offs. The more context you can give your team, the better decisions they will make when you're not in the room.

If you went around to some colleagues' desks today and asked them what your company's top goals are, would they all know? Hopefully, the answer is yes. Surprisingly often the answer is no, which means your company is needlessly leaving a ton of potential on the table. Make sure your entire team knows the company goals.

2. Encourage everyone to own at least one goal.

The best way to help these goals translate into action is to have everyone own at least one goal of their own. This gives people a direct sense of ownership that they'll consistently come back to and take pride in moving forward.

Helping translate company goals into team and individual goals engage your team and gives them goals that they can own and be proud of while knowing that they're connected to the bigger picture and actively driving the company forward. Which brings us to our next tip:

3. Whenever possible, goals should be connected.

Connected goals are powerful. They allow companies, teams, and individuals to see how their priorities fit together in a way they otherwise never can.

Linking individual goals to team and company goals have the tangible effect of getting everyone to row in the same direction (think about a boat with people rowing in unison versus one where the rowers are sporadic and unaligned), which will have a multiplier effect on your company's output. It also has a less tangible — but equally important — result in the form of people feeling a clearer sense of purpose about the company's mission and how their individual work is driving that forward.

4. Focus on having a clear input for your goals.

The more specific you can be about your goals the better. Consider the difference between the goal “Drive massive revenue growth” versus “Give product demos to 500 prospective customers”. The first goal doesn't inform my work in any real way, while the second gives me a clear picture of what needs to get done.

Goals like “Drive massive revenue growth” can work well as top-level company goals, but make sure to work with people setting goals at the team and individual level to have clarity around what the inputs for their goals are. When people have a better sense of true north they will accomplish much more.

These are tips we've heard over and over from some of the most effective companies on our platform, and we'd love to hear other ideas of how you've made goal setting work with your teams!