Research tells us that individuals who set specific, difficult goals perform better than those who set general, easy ones. That makes sense when we define them for ourselves.
What happens when someone else creates them for you? And what happens when your boss dreads the task?
The reality is that most managers see objective-setting as a necessary evil. Nevertheless, it comes with the territory of being in a management position.
Goals are an incentive to act on our aspirations. They make outcomes tangible. Also, they give us a measure of success. They are designed to provide an inducement to deliver on expectations. Moreover, their purpose is the same, whether you’re setting business objectives or life goals.
Consequently, your outcomes should be big enough that they excite you; inspire you; almost elude you. Except, you know that even the most stretching goals are achievable. It’s just a matter of ‘how’.
In the interest of delivering on immediate priorities it’s easy to lose sight of the longer-term goals. And yet, it’s important to keep an eye on those, especially in terms of financial planning. That way when the goal-posts change (as they inevitably do) you are able to reanalyse the numbers against a relevant benchmark.
That means, when you are reviewing business performance, you will be able to maintain a steady benchmark and focus on the overall strategic objectives.
Great leaders will lay down a marker. They set the challenge; and agree the intended outcome. The best then step back and observe. They watch the individual navigate their way around bumps in the road. They offer encouragement as they overcome obstacles along the way. Finally, they reach their destination; job done.
Our task is to guide our people; let them know we have their back; and provide support when needed. And above all, it’s to give them the space to find their own way and to deliver success on their own terms.