Are Goals Mandatory?

Are Goals Mandatory?

By: Dave Baney

To learn more about the 55 Questionssm process click on the logo. Goals and objectives provide organizations with a blueprint that determines a course of action and aids businesses in preparing for future changes.

Do all of your people have a set of written goals? If not, why not?

Goals tell employees what is expected of them and provide a measuring stick for their performance.

Have you ever noticed that when a person or a group of people has really committed to doing something they always find a way to get it done?

The energy is incredible. People brainstorm to find solutions. They work extra hours, find extra resources, and most importantly their mindset is different.

Now, when it comes to goals, are yours…soft or generic or specific?

A soft goal might be to complete the XYZ report, while a generic goal is gross sales, but for a specific goal you might have increased sales of current customers by 20% in the first quarter in 2013.

You can see the difference between these 3; clearly specific goals are the best.

What makes a goal specific?

A specific goal is a goal that incorporates an action plan that outlines how you will achieve the goal, and a performance measure that tells you how you will evaluate the goal.

Many times we make our goal too general, which makes it difficult to follow through on.

For example: “Increase my sales” is a good goal, but it’s so vague that it does not provide a means by which you can judge your success. You can modify your goals by making them specific. All goals should be specific (Get new clients), measurable (Get three new clients), and have a time frame (Get three new clients by November)

It is common for employee goals, set as a part of an annual performance review, to be forgotten during the year. Goals get written down on a paper and filed away, and only looked at when it’s time for the next annual review.

Try asking your people what they should be held accountable for. Some will provide you a great set of accountabilities and some will provide you soft accountabilities and some might even tell you “ah…the job I do really can’t be measured.”

I now offer you a simple four word phrase that you need to get used to using: “no metrics, no job.”

Another way is ask “why do you get paid”? When they provide answers, request that they develop a way to measure their responses.

Every one of us is paid to accomplish very specific things.

Let’s get those things in writing and agree how we’re going to measure them and by what date that performance should be accomplished. Once we’ve got that written set of goals the next question is…are goals mandatory?

My answer is to tell a simple story…the next time you go to an airport, just before you get onboard the plane, remember that the pilot’s goal is to land the plane safely at its destination.

So here’s my question, what percentage of the pilot’s goal is acceptable to you? Is it okay if he gets 80% of the way there and sticks it in a cornfield?
So, your response to the question about the pilot’s goal should give you a hint as to what the goal should be for your people. So…are goals mandatory?

The answer is very clear…

Managers can set goals for employees, but without some measure of accountability your staff won’t necessarily feel responsible for meeting those goals.

Employees who are made accountable for goals will be more invested in the goal itself and have higher personal satisfaction about the results and this will extend to the morale of the organization in general.

Having clear, defined, mandatory goals is a great way to keep moving your business forward and ensure you’re on the path to success.

Dave Baney brings over 30 years of Fortune 500 management and leadership experience to growing businesses nationwide through 55 Questions’ tools and processes. Known for crisp execution, marketing insight and thoughtful direction, he is now a trusted advisor for CEOs. Contact Dave directly: