From Goals to Results – The Three Missing Pieces of the Puzzle

Dianne Ward image
by Dianne Ward, Dir. of Org. Dev.

By the middle of February, most of us have established our business goals for the year (and GREAT job for that!)  Now, we can relax and be confident that we will achieve those goals when we review our results in December, right?  LOL!  Well, we wish it was that easy!  While establishing goals is the foundation, there are a couple of pieces that we may miss.   Understanding and fully utilizing these important pieces may be the difference between achieving and not achieving those goals:

1. Connect to Strategy – “Why does it matter?”

People need to know their work is meaningful and how it contributes to the bottom line.  Try to obtain the highest-level strategy (visual is the best) that you can share with your team (and make sure that you can explain it!) Then, map the direct connection from the strategy to your department, your team, and to their individual goals.  Ask each team member to describe their contribution to the strategy and organizational goals.  Having your team explain their line of sight builds the “why” and reinforces the importance of their goals and obtaining those results.  Think of this piece of the puzzle as connecting the dots.

2. Connect to Reality – “If we fail to plan, then we plan to fail, . . .”

We have all learned how to create SMART goals, so now is the time to check to make sure that your goals have been defined along SMART guidelines.  Are the goals truly specific?  How will you measure them?  Are they attainable and realistic?  What are the milestones along the way?  Have you worked with your team to create an action plan of what needs to be accomplished with target dates?  Have you brainstormed the obstacles that may come up and actions you can take to overcome those challenges?  And lastly, are these goals (the way they are defined) going to get you to the ultimate bigger goal?  Think of this piece of the puzzle as bringing those goals into laser focus!

3. Connect to Individuality – “What’s in it for me?”

This piece is where the magic happens!  (And unfortunately, one that is easy to skip.)  Every task that is completed by humans boils down to how much discretionary effort they decide to commit to that task.  They can choose to not complete the task, they can meet the minimum requirements, or they can take the task to a new level of accomplishment.   In one-on-one meetings, discuss the “why” for the goal. Check for an understanding of how the goal can be accomplished.  Listen for clues on how this goal will motivate each team member.  Set up times for ongoing check-ins and coaching – working to increase that discretionary effort.   Think of this piece of the puzzle as connecting the hearts!

There is no doubt that achieving business results can be challenging.  And for leaders, goal setting is just the first step in that process.  As the next 11 months unfold, obtaining the results can be like putting a puzzle together, except there are endless options on how to build that puzzle.  Adding these three pieces will ensure your overall success.  If you need support with the ideas above, please reach out to us – we are committed to your success!


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