The ability to set and follow through on goals can make a profound difference in your personal performance and long-term business success. Research has shown that teams who set goals obtain 20–25% improved work performance! In addition to improving their performance, people who set goals have more self-confidence, are less stressed and are happier and more productive at work.

With some direction, coaching, and measures of accountability, you and your team members will reach unbelievable heights. As a leader, you must help your team understand the goals they are trying to achieve so they can focus their efforts in the right direction. Goals are the expected results of specific actions. They provide motivation for where you are headed and give substance to your team’s aspirations.

It’s important to collaborate with individual team members in setting goals that contribute to results. There are four simple steps to setting goals that can be used to enhance team and individual performance:

Step 1: Identify Potential Goal Areas.

As a leader, you must consider the overall direction that the business is headed and the strengths of the individuals on your team. Determine the areas where there are opportunities to set goals. Then, select the highest-priority areas.


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Goal areas can vary widely and are dependent on what the individual, team, and organization are trying to achieve. For example, you might set goals related to the organization’s business forecast, new professional skills or experiences, increased education, or changes to other aspects of a person’s life. It’s important to pinpoint specific areas where there are opportunities to build a goal that will push longer-term objectives forward.

You’ll need to determine whether a goal is based on a pressing need, a role being fulfilled, or a responsibility. This will help you provide your employees with the direction they need. Be sure that the goal is an area of true interest, something that you and others are motivated to achieve. In addition, be mindful that the new goal area doesn’t compete with any of your other existing goals.

Step 2: Create a SMART Goal Statement.

This is a formal, written statement about what you want to accomplish. It should specifically define what you will achieve, who will be involved, and when you will do it. At CMOE, the SMART acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Aligned, Realistic, and Time-bound.

Many well-intentioned individuals make mistakes in this step by not clearly defining a goal statement. Having a written goal statement is critical to your success. As you create your statement, it might be helpful to gather input from the people who will be supporting the goal. If the goal statement is too vague, it will be hard to know when you have truly achieved success.

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Step 3: Define the Action Plan.

Once you have a clearly articulated goal statement, you’ll need to create your action and implementation plans. This step gives your goal statement real substance. It helps the people involved understand exactly what is required to be successful. Explore the benefits of accomplishing the goal and potential obstacles that could come up before you begin implementing your plans. Then, establish specific objectives, actions, and timelines that will lead to your success.

Step 4: Implement and Track.

Finally, implement the goals you have written and track your progress. The actions we take lead to higher performance. It’s important to review your progress on a daily basis so you can keep track of your timeline and measure the progress you are making. Work tracking the progress you are making on your goals into your regular routine so you can make small adjustments to the timelines or activities as you go. This will help you stay on target.

For more information about how to set goals that will lead to higher levels of team and individual performance, contact CMOE.

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About the Author
CMOE’s Design Team is comprised of individuals with diverse and complementary strengths, talents, education, and experience who have come together to bring a unique service to CMOE’s clients. Our team has a rich depth of knowledge, holding advanced degrees in areas such as business management, psychology, communication, human resource management, organizational development, and sociology.

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