Getting every team member on the same page can be overwhelming. Setting individual and team goals that are tied to strategic organizational initiatives can help you create team alignment. CPED’s Senior Director of Client Experience Helen Brausen shared a helpful process for setting goals that will help your team develop individual and team goals in a way that supports the organization’s strategic objectives. Watch the 10-minute webinar Getting the Most from Your Team: Setting Individual and Team Goals for additional goal setting recommendations and check out the highlights below.
As a manager, you’re working to develop skills and capabilities for the individuals on your team and your team overall. Everyone brings different skills and experiences to their role, and likely has different career goals and development needs. Your role as a manager is to figure out how to bring their individual skills together to form an optimal team. Ideally, when you bring individuals together their differences will balance the team and complement each other’s skills.
Developing goals starts with your overall company goals. Each company goal represents a piece of a larger puzzle that will be broken down into smaller pieces and assigned to the team you manage, which is ultimately broken down further to be given to the individuals on your team. Team goals need to be based on company goals that your team can uniquely accomplish together. If you’re launching a new service within the next year, set goals for what your team needs to do in order to accomplish those goals. As the team manager, you should establish the larger team goals that will keep the team aligned. After that, you can begin to outline how each individual will work toward those goals. In the book Alignment, Process, and Relationships, Steve King recommends managers talk with external and internal stakeholders to determine the requirements of the team, including larger organizational objectives to begin developing team goals.
Think about individual goals in three main categories: personal, operational, and stretch. In a goal-setting conversation, invite employees to establish the goals themselves since they will own the actual execution of them.
The SMART goal framework is a great place to start forming individual goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time based. Within the individual goals, you can break those tasks down using the SMART methodology. Together, you’ll discuss the individual tasks, deadlines, and expectations for each goal.
Specific – What am I responsible for?
Measurable – How will I be measured?
Attainable – Do I have the capacity and resources I need?
Relevant – How does this meet a business need, fit with my role, and help my development?
Time Based – What is my deadline?
Personal goals are areas an employee would like to focus on for their own professional growth and development. Allowing employees to develop their skills in a way that is tied it to company goals will strengthen the team. This promotes employee retention and puts value on individual development and business productivity.
An example of a personal goal would be to complete a leadership certificate within one year, so they are prepared to move into a leadership role.
Since you’re already outlined the team goals, you can begin to determine the specific actions and tasks employees will have ownership of within those larger team goals. This does not exclude working with others to achieve these goals. It simply clarifies what they are responsible for personally. Engage with other team members to accomplish actions, tasks, and ultimately, the overall goal.
Think back to our example of a company launching a new service. If your team is responsible for delivering that new service, an individual operational goal might be to compile a list of all resources needed to deliver that service and have it ready for the team by January 1. While they may have to work with other team members to collect that information, they are ultimately responsible for making sure the task is completed by January 1.
Stretch goals should have the right amount of risk that they will require the application of a new skill, tool, or process, and a little extra effort. Training opportunities and further professional development also make great stretch goal option as that often aligns with personal goals but might need a little more time to complete.
A stretch goal for a member on the service delivery team might be to select a new project management system and evaluate if it would create any additional efficiencies for the team. That goal could then be broken down into tasks using the SMART framework that may include researching three different project management systems by a specific date.
The SMART methodology can help managers structure and organize goals in a way that allows them to be completed more effectively while dramatically improving team performance by. If you’re interested in continuing to learn more about how to align the individuals on your team, we invite you to join us for Managing Teams Effectively (Online), an interactive online program that will help you clarify team processes.