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Bringing Guidance to Goal Setting

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With the new year approaching, it is important to set goals that are achievable and will lead to better performance. If your team's goals are too easy, it creates apathy, but if they are too hard, you risk discouragement. As a leader, how do you find the right balance? There are three critical anchor points that will help guide your goal setting process, including: 1. A clear vision/strategy 2. Enabling systems 3. Good leadership A Clear Vision/Strategy Setting goals for the next year is a powerful admission that your current results are not good enough. Anchoring your short-term goals in a long- term company vision and strategy provides context and perspective for everyone involved. The idea is to set long-term goals that will stretch you over time but also to set short-term goals that can be achieved along the way. This allows your team to celebrate wins while staying focused on achieving long-term goals. Remember, even with a clear strategy, you may need to periodically re-evaluate your goals and adjust as unexpected changes occur. Enabling Systems Some leaders focus solely on hitting targeted results and beating their team up month after month for shortfalls. Instead of this approach, it's much more effective to add to the overall goal and focus on the right habits (systems). In other words, measure if the team is adopting good behaviors. For example, goals that measure the right habits or systems consist of statements like, "We will make 30 phone calls to qualified prospects each week," or "I will set aside 30 minutes each morning to plan my day." It is also important to build tools and accountability into your plan to enable goal attainment. Without that connection, you may have employees running through the motions of their daily work processes but not contributing to organizational success. Good Leadership Keeping the team both stretched and inspired by their goals requires good leadership and constant support. If leaders in your company truly just want to feel satisfied with the status quo (and you want high performance), then let them work for the competition. Although goals may create stress, they are vital. The anchor point to addressing this is ongoing leadership and coaching. Current research shows that the most impactful leadership tool for improving talent is effective coaching. The Corporate Executive Board uses the following definition of coaching: "An ongoing and dynamic series of job embedded interactions between a manager and his/her direct report designed to diagnose and correct or reinforce behaviors specific to that individual." Bottom line, coaching is about the application, not the acquisition of knowledge. It is about doing, not just knowing. Relative to goal setting, coaching is one of the most powerful ways to get commitment and ownership to the goal as well as to help people do the things they need to do to attain their goals. Goal setting is a critical part of the performance process, from the top to the bottom of the organization. Using these critical anchor points will not necessarily make it any easier, but if used properly, they will help you get it right. to Goal Setting BRINGING Guidance by Kim Capps | InsideOut Development CEO

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