5 Tips for Setting Team Goals and Objectives

Setting goals and objectives allows a team to determine what comprises meaningful results for them. For example, a good business day for a cupcake shop would be to sell 100 of the sweet treats in a day; and if that amount is reached or exceeded then the shop can call the business day a great one.

Teams need to set goals and objectives so they have something to motivate them. For instance, a reward will be given to an employee who was able to reach or exceed the goals set for the week. And a motivated employee leads to great results for a company.

But although businesses do set goals and objectives, an astounding 80% don’t keep track of those goals. That said, what can be done in order to set effective goals and objectives? Here are some tips:

Make Sure It’s SMART

SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Studies have proven that setting specific, obtainable and challenging goals can enhance performance. Here’s an example to illustrate SMART goals better:

Suppose you want to increase the revenue of your catering business. So you set a simple goal: Increase the revenue of my catering business. The goal is great and all but how are you going to achieve it? A SMART goal states how the increase will happen and sets a deadline for it. That said, a SMART goal would be: Increase the revenue of my catering business by 15% every month by catering two parties monthly.

For another example: let’s say you want to increase the visibility of your business on social media. You can create a simple goal that states: Post to social media frequently. However, a more specific goal would be: Each day, post content on social media three times.

Make Sure The Goals And Objectives Are Clear And Understandable

While working on Blogger (the blogging platform of Google), Google Ventures partner Rick Klau set objectives for each quarter. One of those objectives was to improve the reputation of Google’s blogging platform – this was in response to the decline of the platform due to the growing popularity of Tumblr.

Klau’s objectives in improving Blogger’s reputation were as follows:

  • Re-establish Blogger’s leadership by speaking at three industry events.
  • Coordinate Blogger’s 10th birthday PR efforts.
  • ID and personally reach out to top xx Blogger users.
  • Fix DMCA process, eliminate music blog takedowns.
  • Set up @blogger on Twitter, regularly participate in discussions re: Blogger product.

As you can see, the objectives that were set are pretty clear. Although the objectives listed above catered to just one individual, the same thought process can be applied to a team. Let’s say you’re a cake shop and have social media accounts but are not seeing the results you like. You can set up objectives that include:

  • Take better photos of products by hiring a photographer; post five photos on Instagram at different times of the day.
  • Interact with users who respond directly to the account and answer any relevant questions that are asked.
  • Run a campaign for special occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Christmas and so on (this may include informing followers of discounts and letting them know about products just made for the occasion).

Studies have shown that objectives that are clearly communicated and are understandable result in better employee engagement. In other words, if employees know what is expected of them, they know what they need to do in order to achieve those goals.

Make Sure The Goals Are Aligned

According to research, employees are more likely to be engaged in their work when goals are based on their personal strengths. As such, you need to make sure that the goals and objectives for your team are aligned. For example, it wouldn’t make sense to ask your team to complete a project in the Java programming language if none of them have experience in it. Maybe before you undertake a project using such a language, you might want to have a few sessions on its fundamentals. From there, your team has an added strength and can work on Java projects when required.

Make Sure Goals Are Challenging Yet Attainable

Although studies have shown that challenging goals can lead to better performance, goals that are seen as way beyond reach can lead to an employee feeling unmotivated. The best kind of goal setting is where you establish ones that are challenging enough but not hard to accomplish.

For instance: let’s say you run a catering business and you’re still starting out which means you have a limited number of staff. Christmas time comes and you experience an increase in inquiries. Should you cater to every one of them? Or should you stick to a certain number to ensure that clients do not end up disappointed and your staff remains motivated to come to work?

Make Sure Everyone Knows What The Next Step Is

In a study, 63% of respondents considered not knowing which task is the priority as the biggest waste of their time. When setting goals, it should be clear which jobs require to be done first before proceeding to another. In other words, there should be a proper sequence of things.

Setting goals are useless unless they can be broken down int daily, weekly and monthly tasks. For instance, every team member is required to submit a report at the end of the day listing down what they have done. This way, a manager can keep better track of what still needs to be done and what else can be done.

Clear goal setting is critical in teams because unclear goals leads to issues within the team. When responsibilities are blurred, this can lead to members waiting for additional guidance on the next steps to take. Or, dominant members of the team just take charge of everything. Now, that is one scenario you don’t want happening in a team setting because you want everyone to become part of the team and contribute to its success.