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The Power of Goal Setting

How to Transform your Good Team into a Great Team

Goal setting within your business is a powerful way to align your team. It ensures everyone is rowing in the same direction and focuses each person on what they personally need to achieve and improve upon this month and this quarter, to reach their personal career and professional development goals.

The Purpose and Benefits of Goal Setting

Edwin Locke’s groundbreaking paper “Goal Setting Theory of Motivation”—almost 60 years ago now—asserted that the purpose of goal setting is to give direction to team members about what needs to be done and how much effort is required to achieve it.

Goal setting achieves 4 things for your business:

  • It provides accountability, guidance and focus to your team
  • It motivates and inspires team members
  • It aligns team members’ efforts with the business’ objectives
  • It allows you to measure performance and provide meaningful feedback.
Consistency is Key

When goal setting is applied through a consistent, strategic and practical approach, it’s easy to meet these objectives. When you do, you’ll transform your good team into a great team and the business as a whole will reap the benefits.

Some of the specific windfalls of setting and achieving goals include:

  • Increased team member performance translating into more efficient, proactive and consistent service delivery to clients
  • Alignment between business and team member objectives, resulting in maximised business outcomes
  • Increased individual motivation as each team member will have:
    • Clear expectations
    • An understanding of how they contribute to the organisation
    • Autonomy and ownership of the goals, and…
    • Recognition for their performance
  • Continuous skill development for the team member
  • Consistent behaviour aligned with your organisation’s values, and
  • Enhanced workplace culture and a better performing business generally.

While the benefits are undeniable, there are pitfalls to goal setting that can undermine performance and business outcomes.

When unrealistic or vague goals are set, they can be worse than setting no goals at all.

Ineffective goal setting can lead to a drop in self-confidence, motivation and focus for your team.

The complete opposite of what you want to achieve.

When goal setting is done incorrectly in a business, it can lead to individuals focusing too much on reaching their personal goals through risky behaviours, short-term thinking or taking actions that are incompatible with the organisation’s values.

In other words, team members can start putting their own interests ahead of you, your team, and your customers.

So, how do you set goals that will reap the benefits rather than undermine performance and workplace culture?

A Practical Approach to Goal Setting

Since its development in 1981, Doran, Miller and Cunningham’s SMART goals model has become a benchmark for goal setting.

As a memorable and on-point acronym, SMART nails it: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound.

The SMART model is effective for goal setting at the individual level, and as a business you also need to make sure each team member’s goals tie back to your strategic planning.

The achieve this, your SMART goals process needs to include:

  • Input from each team member in goal identification — areas to cover include client service delivery, financial targets, processes, learning, development, values and behaviours
  • Mutually agreed understanding of the purpose of goals
  • Documentation of a plan for accountability
  • Ensuring each team member has what they need to accomplish each goal
  • Regular monitoring and feedback.

This process will allow you to tap into the power of goal setting. You’ll be able to build an engaged team who know what they need to do, have the skills to do it and can see how their work fits into the overall business objectives.

A system for goal setting in your business

Transforming good teams into great teams is a passion of ours and is what led to the development of the Balanced Scoreboard platform.

We initially created this to develop our own team, and after making a huge difference for us it has now evolved to a point where it’s helping many businesses implement a structured framework for enhanced team engagement, performance and job satisfaction.

To learn more, go to to book a demonstration of the platform.

Effective HR is not just about ‘ticking boxes’ on the compliance front, it’s about aligning your team members’ goals with your business’ goals, so that together everyone can, well…

…kick some goals.

Balanced Scoreboard® is a registered trademark of Altitude Innovations © 2021. All rights reserved.