You put every ounce of your passion into starting your business and you hired good people who supported your vision. Did your employees initially work hard but now seem scattered? Do they appear to have lost the energy that made them productive just a few months ago?
Regain vitality by focusing your employees on company goals and objectives.
Concrete company goals keep all eyes on the innovation, market share and competitive advantage you seek while subconsciously directing the nuts and bolts of the daily grind. If employees don’t have the big picture — at least in their peripheral vision – during the day-to-day toil in the trenches, they can inadvertently wander off into tasks that do not support mission-critical, profit-making activities.
If your goal setting process achieves the correct results, when an employee questions which task to tackle next, the deadlines and mini-deadlines previously set in your goal setting session should provide the answer without interrupting you for direction.
A yearly retreat is an excellent way to sit down with employees in a relaxed and creative environment to reevaluate organizational success strategies, goals and objectives, thus focusing employees toward the productivity you seek.
A good retreat has a price tag attached, but is not expensive. In reality, it will save you money as employees will be focused on high priority items that move the performance of your organization forward, not the ‘could be done’ or ‘nice to do’ activities.
Another advantage of including employees in the goal setting process is engagement. When employees have a say in the outcomes that affect them and in the tasks they are asked to perform, engagement increases. Involving them in the goal setting process buys their commitment and they will take the necessary steps to reach your goals.
In addition to sales targets and customer service goals, I recommend engaging your employees in discussions about how to reduce errors, shrink turnaround time, minimize costs and other factors that could improve the overall performance of your company.
Once the general direction of your goals is decided, follow these guidelines:
1. Choose goals that stretch your workers and their capacity to contribute. Help them visualize themselves obtaining the goal.
2. Write your goals in a language that is specific and concrete, leaving no room for erroneous interpretations. If the goal is not written, the power of the process is diminished and the goal may stay in the “hope” stage, never becoming reality.
3. Decide how you will measure the goal and how will you track progress toward the goal. Will your progress be measured weekly, monthly, or quarterly? By percentages, dollar volume, actual numbers, etc.?
4. Attach deadlines to every goal and affix mini-deadlines to complex goals. A time frame has the most power to move employees forward and to reduce procrastination.
Once your retreat has produced the crystal clear goals and objectives you seek, don’t wait for implementation until you get back to the office. As units, have the employees determine what their unit will do to support the organizational umbrella goals. Then ask each employee to make their own individual goals that support the unit goals and the organizational goals.
The last step before you leave the retreat is to have the employees fire up their electronic calendars (Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes or Google online calendars all work) and record absolute deadlines with intermediate targets and alarms for each objective. With their eye on end results, their productivity and energy will be paced throughout the days, weeks, and months, ultimately bringing you success at the end of each year. Pay close attention to quarterly check points because even a goal with recorded deadlines and funky alarms is powerless to drive performance if it is not regularly revisited.
Businesses without crystal clear goals and objectives are floundering in today’s chaotic economic climate. Set yourself apart and put yourself on the cutting edge with powerful goals that focus your employees on results.
About the Author
Karla Brandau is the CEO of Workplace Power Institute which is dedicated to helping you increase organizational productivity. Call 770-923-0883 for information on retreat facilitation and visit www.KarlaBrandau.com/LMW for a complimentary personal Life Power Goal Setting Kit.