Or more to the point, Are we even aware of such a button? And if we are, Is this a button that we press once in anticipation of securing our current post and which we won’t consider resetting unless going for a promotion or changing jobs entirely?
If the answer to the first question is no, and positive in relation to the second, then it is highly likely that our notion of goals is associated more with personal life goals, rather than development and sustained growth at our place of work.
The scope of this article is to revisit goal setting through an organisational/company slant, bearing in mind that when well done and with everyone roped in, goal setting creates a top-down bottom-up ripple effect on both workers and their organisations, and often spills over into everyone’s personal lives, in terms of status, self-esteem and growth.
Goal setting to get results
A goal is very much like a wish, an aspiration or an objective. Let’s think of a couple wishing to get married. Goal setting is the work that goes to achieving their objective. In the case of this couple, this involves setting a date and the investment of their time and effort in planning their wedding ceremony and reception. They research, they discuss it with friends who have been through the experience, and they also start saving – sometimes having to miss out on activities that they used to enjoy before. Finally, they know they have achieved their goal when the much-awaited day arrives and the marriage contract is signed.
Personal work goals are not that different. If I want to excel professionally, as a worker inside my organisation, I might decide that I want to improve my performance as a leader. I research and decide to enrol on a leadership course, and then I set aside the time, time I would have used otherwise, to dedicate it to my studies. On the day I graduate, my desired goal has been achieved. It may not be a goal that aligns with the overall strategy of the organisation where I work (although most organisations do prefer promoting people from within), but from a purely personal standpoint, my qualification certificate is the result of the goal that I had set.
Both examples highlight the process of goal setting as well as its relevance to achieving desired outcomes. From an organisational perspective, goal setting may be more complex, but the aims do not differ. Objectives are set, and key results identify what success will look like when they have been achieved.
Organisational growth cannot be measured unless it has been defined and quantified. Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is in fact a relevant goal-setting methodology that organisations can use to give direction and empower achievement. The OKRs methodology aligns with team performance and allows for a narrow focus on objectives that can be tracked and measured.
Organisations that aspire for growth as part of their performance are aware that this can only be achieved when work goals are defined in terms of objectives and key results that the relevant workforce in the organisation is committed to.
3 signs that your organisation’s work goals need to be reset:
1. Goals do not address needs
This is when goals are being reached but the performance indicators are not. An example of this would be a school that aims to buy more books to improve the literacy level of its students. Unfortunately, although the number of books increases, the desired outcome of improved literacy does not.
Such a situation highlights the importance of setting a number of sub-goals to achieve the desired outcome. Buying books was an incomplete/insufficient goal with regard to the desired outcome.
2. Too few or too many goals
Too many goals can make them too burdensome on the workforce, while too few can result in not enough progress or growth being made.
3. Goals set but not communicated, quantified, and revisited
Even when the number of goals is adequate and aligned with the desired outcome, if the responsible team is not communicating them to the rest of the workforce and not continuing to revisit them on a regular basis to monitor progress, then they can easily be forgotten. The measurable result is paramount since this quantifies the rate of success.
OKRs is one of the various goal-setting methodologies that an organisation can adopt on its own or in tandem with others to place it in a better position, to meet present-day work demands, to involve its workforce more, to connect progress with the efforts of the relevant teams, and to instil working habits that are needed to thrive.
If your organisation is presenting any of the signs highlighted in this article, we recommend you press that reset button!