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Steps for Goal Setting 

Steps for goal setting - A practical guide

As a manager, one of your most important responsibilities is making sure that your employees set Smart goals and that those goals are met successfully. Traditionally, the manager would develop goals for the employees and would define the expected outcomes using his/her own criteria. There was no consultation and discussion in place to negotiate goals or to create a shared process of developing them. This top-down approach created a lot of dissatisfaction, low morale and employee turn-over.

 Achieving business goals requires everyone’s effort and commitment. Bottom-up approaches are great, but they don’t work in isolation. Individuals may set goals that do not meet the expectations of the organization or do not fit its mission and vision. The golden middle here is the proactive, participatory goal-setting approach. The only way to ensure that the expectations of leadership, boards, and stakeholders are met, and that employees take ownership of them, is participation throughout the company in setting and meeting goals.

 Here’s your guide to a successful, proactive goal-setting process.

 Steps for Goal Setting

 Before starting the goal setting process:

Take the time to actively support your team through the goal setting process by clarifying company’s  vision, mission and other important information related to the company.

  During the goal setting process:

 Ensure that employees’ goals align with corporate goals.

Guide employees towards setting goals that stretch their potential but are achievable.

Determine how performance will be evaluated and goal achievement measured. Develop indicators to measure progress.

Be an advocate for your team throughout the process.

Explain the bottom-up approaches and its value to your employees. Some of your team members may have never been involved in such a process before and may be hesitant to make important decisions and set goals that are going to determine their performance. Some may feel it’s a trap of some sort and may not be willing to participate.

Create an atmosphere that fosters open and honest communication.

Set ground rules for the goal setting process.

Facilitate group sessions to determine the components of a goal and the expected outcomes.

Provide space and time for everyone to engage and contribute.

Summarize discussions and provide a framework of agreement on the criteria to develop goals.

Steps for goal setting

 Once the goal elements and criteria are developed and agreed upon the following steps apply to the process:  

Have individual meetings with your team members to with each of your employees to convey company goals, team goals and their role in the structure. During this discussion, steer employees to set goals in areas where their individual accomplishments will make the greatest contribution to the overall plan. Share with them how their performance contributes to the results you want to achieve. Facilitate the setting of 3-4 challenging goals and negotiate tasks to be accomplished in order to achieve results. 

Develop a timeline for achieving those results.

Prioritize goals. This helps your team members in making daily choices and decisions based on the relative importance of each goal. Finalize the discussion by discussing how performance will be monitored based on progress toward the goals. If some goals require a group effort, show each team member how individual achievements will contribute to the group’s work and how  these contributions will be measured. If success achieving a goal will be evaluated by multiple criteria-such as client satisfaction, quality, value added, cost, and quantity, for example-define that clearly.

Get your employees to commit to the agreed-upon goals. Without this commitment, setting a goal is pointless. Once you’ve completed the process, let your employees know that you will monitor and provide feedback along the way. Follow up by monitoring progress and communicating your appreciation or encouragement throughout the year.


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