Organizational goals serve four major functions. They provide guidance and direction, facilitate planning, motivate employees, and help evaluate and control performance.
Because these outcomes are so important, don’t rush through the goal-setting phase. It’s tempting to jot down a few good ideas on scraps of paper or a napkin and say done. Writing clear, focused objectives takes time, thorough review and collaborative feedback.
Many leaders struggle with writing objectives, because they state action steps, not the desired results. When team members face time pressure, they will resort to these defined activities, not the necessary steps needed to deliver results.
When you find yourself reviewing action steps, here are a few simple questions to ask that help guide you to clear, results-oriented objectives:
- Why do you want to do the identified activity?
- How can we achieve the objective, but end up unhappy with the result?
- How is this objective good for your organization?
Reflecting on these questions and the resulting revisions lead to improved goals that drive results.
“Management by objectives works if you first think through your objectives. Ninety percent of the time you haven’t.” – Peter Drucker, Management Consultant and Author