How to maintain SMART goal momentum

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Most businesses recognise the importance of setting goals to drive teams forward with purpose. Yet organisations often struggle to maintain their focus on a day-to-day basis.

Here are my top tips on how to ensure your organisation is dedicated to achieving the same end goals.

Make your goals SMART
Vague goals are hard to track and don’t hold up well when it’s time to review progress. Use SMART goal-setting to evaluate your goals so they’ll keep everyone informed and on task.

SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time bound

Limit your focus
Sometimes it’s important that you say “no” as much as you say “yes.” Over-committing can lead to a lack of focus and excuses for missed deadlines. This is a slippery slope. Where failure becomes excusable, it’s not long before it becomes acceptable.

Set goals that make you stretch
Goals need to be challenging enough to keep everyone motivated and interested, but not so difficult that they frustrate and disappoint employees. People work best when they achieve manageable, challenging goals on a regular basis.

Be inclusive
Employees are at their best when they take ownership of the company’s core values and vision. Help your team stay engaged by providing outlets for creative thinking about goals and each person’s role in achieving them. Consulting with staff throughout the goal-setting process will ensure that goals are realistic and achievable, and staff will be more committed to their achievement.

Make it personal
Great employers understand the individual goals of their team members and help employees reach their personal potential while contributing to the company’s goals.

Avoid the blame game
Create an ethos of responsibility and accountability. Work with staff to identify who will be responsible for each task as part of the goal-setting process. Where tasks are failing, approach the appropriate person to discuss opportunities to get it back on track. Task assignments help you identify breakdowns, and they can also help you recognise and reward top performers.

Communicate progress
Create a regular performance review process to discuss individual progress toward end goals. Communicate regularly on how effectively the organisation is working towards meeting its goals and what, if any, adjustments need to be made.

Celebrate achievements
Take time out to celebrate achievements and milestones. Recognising breakthroughs both big and small will help you and your team stay motivated and focused on the end result.

Show what you mean
Visual displays are great for keeping goals top of mind. Take words, phrases, models or sketches and hang or frame them. Use your imagination and get everyone involved! If you want to take it a step further, encourage individual employees to create their own vision board to hang above their desk.

Finally, I will leave you with a great tale that demonstrates how effectively an organisation’s goals can be adopted by its staff: A visitor to the NASA Space Centre in the late 1960’s, chatted with a cleaner who was sweeping the floor of a long corridor. “What do you do here?” asked the visitor. “I’m helping to put a man on the moon,” the sweeper replied.

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About the author

Samantha Coles is a highly skilled and qualified coach, furnished with a wide range of experience in training, team development and mentoring. Combining her passion for understanding and developing people and an advanced understanding of how to succeed in business, Samantha started the coaching business Back in Front. Connect with her on LinkedIn or check out back-in-front.com for more information about business, executive and sports performance coaching. More blog posts by Samantha Coles ››
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