New Year’s Eve. A magical time of the year when we put the past year behind us and look forward to the endless possibilities of the year to come. When the clock ticks over to the 1st of January and we watch the fireworks light up the sky, we make promises to ourselves that this year is going to be different, this year is going to be better.

Then, through the inevitable brain fog and headaches the next morning, we remember all of those promises we made to ourselves the night before. “I will lose weight this year” or “I will earn more money this year” or “I will grow my business this year”. We say them with such conviction while holding up our champagne flutes, so why do so many people fail to achieve them?

According to U.S. News & World Report, the failure rate for New Year’s resolutions is said to be about 80 percent, and most lose their resolve by mid-February. While resolutions are often the overarching theme of what we want to achieve, they are often vague and we don’t really know how we are going to achieve them. So how can we set our intentions for the year ahead and actually achieve them? We need to set goals.

A goal with a plan beats a resolution every day of the year

When you get specific about what success looks like, it gets much easier to stay connected to your desired outcome and create a plan to get there. So rather than creating a list of New Year’s Resolutions write a list of New Year’s Goals.

First coined in the Management Review in 1981, the acronym SMART was introduced as a tool to create criteria to help improve the chance of succeeding in accomplishing a goal and is still widely used to set both personal and professional goals today.

Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.

For example, instead of having a goal “to sail around the world”, it’s more powerful to use the SMART goal: “To have completed a trip around the world by December 31, 2027.” Obviously, this will only be attainable if a lot of preparation has been completed and you have a fantastic team behind you.

If you are looking to set goals for your team next year, effec­tive goal set­ting helps to increase employ­ee engage­ment, improve per­for­mance, and ben­e­fits the organ­i­sa­tion as a whole. Yet, so many com­pa­nies aren’t cap­i­tal­is­ing on the most impor­tant part of goal set­ting – work­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly to align per­son­al goals to com­pa­ny and team pri­or­i­ties and initiatives.

Setting specific and measurable goals for yourself and your team

Goals don’t have to be the bane of your or your employees’ existence. When done properly, setting collaborative goals can improve employee commitment and help clarify an employee’s role – the single biggest driver of organisational health. Setting collaborative goals increases transparency, while also ensuring employee concerns and suggestions are heard and taken into account.

How to effectively set goals for yourself and your team:

1. Linking personal goals to company-wide objectives

By helping employees define their personal goals, managers are putting them on the path towards achieving the organisation goals. Research shows that 72% of employ­ees whose man­agers help them to set goals are ful­ly engaged, and those rates increase by 2.5 times when man­agers hold staff account­able for their per­for­mance goals. This is because when goals are set col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly, employ­ees can see how their work con­tributes to cor­po­rate objec­tives and team mis­sions. 

2. Keep communication ongoing

The annual performance review is an outdated practice in that organisational goals and objectives can change throughout the span of 12 months. Regular check-ins with your team will help you to re-visit your goals and will help to keep everyone on track.

3. Undertake surveys & ask for feedback

Sur­veys are a great way to assess whether employ­ees are on board with com­pa­ny strat­e­gy and how their work impacts the com­pa­ny. Asking specific questions will help you to understand how your team is feeling and how they feel about their goals throughout the process.

4. Be prepared for goals and directions to change

Business moves quickly and priorities can change overnight. You need to be prepared to update goals and be able to communicate quickly and effectively with your team. By using a real-time goal setting software, you will be able to add & update goals efficiently will help everyone stay together and motivated.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself” – Henry Ford

Setting measurable goals with clear outcomes with set timeframes provide clear direction and will drive motivation to reach your goals. Establishing a measurable criteria for each goal will allow you to track your progress and by reviewing these often will guide daily, weekly and monthly actions towards your specific goal.

Using a tracking tool to measure both your personal goals and your team goals will help everyone to stay on the right track by providing transparency and clear direction for everyone involved and make that dreaded performance review a walk in the park!

Optimum Consulting Group has created our very own real-time employee experience platform that takes the complexity out of goal setting. My Employee Life helps organisations focus on what is really important by helping to set clear goals, track progress and take action.

For more information, or to book a demo, please reach out to one of our experienced HR Consultants.

2021 has been a very long year and as we enter the last few weeks of this strange year, it is time to think about what you want to achieve in 2022 and start putting some of those goals down on paper so you can just sit back and enjoy your champagne when the clock strikes 12!

Tamika Ryan
Executive Consultant – Group Solutions

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