Setting goals is a way to define what you are working towards, and what your priorities are, so why do so many individuals and teams in business and government fail to set goals, or if they do, fail to reach them? The answer is probably not that the people didn’t work hard or didn’t care enough, but that there was a fatal flaw in the goal itself.
When it come to creating effective, achievable goals, there are three rules: make them positive, specific and measureable.
- The term goal refers to something you are aiming at, so create a goal!, not something you are running away from. Rather than, ‘Our council aims to reduce complaints about the planning department.’ To ‘Our council aims to improve the customer experience when engaging with the planning department to 85% of clients satisfied or very satisfied.’
- Make the goal reflect a value, rather than be a grab for position or power? Let’s use an example for the individual this time: rather than ‘I want a promotion’ try ‘I want to learn more about managing people.’
- When it comes to specific, consider what needs to change – What’s the relevant process that must be reviewed and changed? What is the timeframe? What resources will be allocated to support the goal?
- Measurement is essential, and also includes setting milestones towards achieving the goal. How often will progress be reviewed? Reviewing your progress gives you the ability to change your tact, or bring in different expertise or resources. It also helps you make the most of or mitigate unexpected outcomes. Measurement also enables you to define what success look like.
Lastly, sharing your goals with the wider community builds credibility, rapport and support within the community. This is especially true if community members are able to see change. Make sure you provide visibility to your successes – use your website, posters and the local media to get the word out.