Setting Goals for Your Team

So far this month, our blog posts have looked at setting new years resolutions and individual goals. However, it’s important to look at whether setting goals for your team is different.

Setting team goals shouldn’t be a solo effort. Often, the manager or team leader formulates goals in isolation and tells the members what they are. This can lead to disempowerment of members and less ownership of the goals being put forward. It also tends to engender a passive culture within the team. Goal setting in a team context needs to be a collaborative process that is carefully implemented and facilitated.

Goal setting is an incredibly important process for all team members and team leaders. It ticks so many important personal, interpersonal and task focused strengths that are necessary for high performance in the workplace. So we can best understand the importance of ‘team goalsetting’, I will break the following into two parts. These are:

1) Understanding the important benefits available through team goal setting, and

2) Understanding how to shape the goal setting process so everyone gets the most benefits available.

1. Important Benefits Available:

Collaboration: This style of interaction in the workplace promotes a high-performance team approach. Through building a collaborative culture,  members are encouraged to interact in goal setting. This can include speaking up, being sensitive to the needs of others, or interacting in a friendly and cooperative manner, even when discussing issues with differences of opinion. This breaks down avoidance or dependence within a team, which produces poor results and outcomes.

Self–efficacy: Goal setting as a team provides each team member with the opportunity to speak up, say their piece, put their ideas forward and argue the reasons behind their point of view. This serves to build the self-regard and self -belief of the person. They can realise that their opinion is sought after and their sharing of experience and acquired skills has a positive impact on the team.

Problem solving & decision making: When done properly, a team approach to goal setting helps cement a solution focused approach. This improves the way team members handle conflict and challenges in the future. It also helps them to develop constructive skills in this important process.

Achievement: When team members set important goals together moving forward, this creates more personal and achievable goals.  Collaboratively working to resolve issues or set future pathways leads to better outcomes for both the rational and interpersonal processes needed to achieve high performance.

2. How to Shape the Goal Setting Process for the Most Benefits:

Set a vision:

Establish where you feel the team needs to head and why.  What will be the desired high-performance outcomes if the vision can be achieved? Provide time for the team members to ask questions, clarify and put their thoughts forward. The more involvement team members have in this early part of the process, the better. (If it is the first time a Charter or Brand Foundation session has been run, it is important to include the team members in the formation of this. This also needs to be linked to the whole of organisation vision/direction if applicable.)

Facilitate the Goal Setting process:

In order to achieve the vision the team has agreed to, it must be identified:

1) What needs to be done and

2) How does it need to be done.

The goal setting process involves formulating goals that members feel are important. They must also look at how they will be implemented, who takes responsibility for what and how will progress be reviewed. It is important to allow enough time for team members to have a robust debate of ideas. They can then reach a consensus on the goals to be set in place, along with how the journey to accomplish those goals will be crafted. The goals need to be notated and tabled and then distributed to all members.

Review progress towards goals:

It is important to set review periods where the team gets together and reflects upon how they are moving towards those goals. They can look at the advances and roadblocks that have been made along the journey. It is important to have the team reflect not only upon what has happened so far, but also upon how they are working together to accomplish their goals. It is also important to review if the current goals are still applicable, or is there a need to set new goals? This can help navigate ‘roadblocks’ and keep moving towards the initial vision. One way to review progress is simply to consider ‘What do we need to STOP doing, START doing and KEEP doing’ to maximise accomplishment of the set goals.

It is also important to remember the 5 behaviours of cohesive teams when setting out. This can establish a high performing team that will become very proficient at goal setting tasks.

The building blocks for high performing teams are:

  1. Vulnerability based trust: Team members need to feel able to share their ideas, weaknesses and vulnerabilities without fear of ridicule or reprisal from others in the team. Vulnerability based trust requires being open and transparent about ourselves and our ideas. If we feel supported by others, this develops a culture of respect and interest in each other’s growth and development.
  2. Solution focused conflict: Team members must feel able to have robust arguments about the facts and their opinions of situations. The focus should be on developing the best solution as a result from debate and input from each other. This requires differences to be supported, tolerated and resolved.
  3. Commitment: Team members must show overt signs of commitment towards the vision and goals the members have decided upon.
  4. Accountability: Members of the team must keep each other accountable to achieve the tasks and goals decided upon. This must be in a manner that is supportive of each other and builds team efficacy and commitment to the greater good.
  5. Team Goals: The Holy Grail: When team members strive towards the common team goals, these become more important than their personal goals. Team members realise that what they can achieve as a group is greater than their individual capacities.

So where to now?

Through correctly setting team goals, you can drive performance and improvement to achieve both personal and collaborative success. If team members feel inspired by their goals, you will see better results. Through reflecting on these improved results, this will then drive further success and motivation. This will set a cycle in place that can be continually built upon – a great way to start 2020!

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