One of the greatest errors that an individual or organization (which is nothing more than a group of individuals working toward common goals) can make is to create more goals than can be effectively accomplished or focused on in a given time period. While the intention may be to complete many projects during the year, the reality is that dilution of efforts occurs. By being spread too thin and therefore unfocused, the power inherent in the group is weakened – sometimes to the point of ineffectiveness.
Here are some key concepts that can help in setting goals that are meaningful and attainable:
1. Set goals that contribute only to the most important responsibilities and outcomes for the organization.
2. The goals must not conflict with one another. For example, do not set a goal to grow market share and gross margin if you have no control over the cost of goods sold.
3. Do not set goals so large that they are unattainable, even if they look good on paper. “Solving world hunger” and “creating world peace” are things everyone wants but are likely never to be attained by mere mortals.
4. Do not let corporate mission and value statements taint your goal setting process. These types of “goals” normally cannot be measured in any meaningful manner and therefore do not contribute to the growth of the person or organization.
(It should be obvious, but I will state it here – unethical, immoral, and illegal behavior has no place in any organization. The lack of goals related to behavior does not condone or support unethical, immoral, or illegal behaviors.)
5. It is advisable to subdivide a large goal into a series of smaller “sub-goals” or milestones. Help your team think of large tasks in this manner. It will make the task manageable and will encourage members as the complete the milestones.
Garner your forces at the point of attack to put the most pressure on the task at hand. Focused efforts achieve results.