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The Power of Establishing and Communicating Clear Goals

Nothing leads to success like having clear, written goals that are continually communicated to every constituency.

Unfortunately, most companies’ goals are largely unknown outside senior management, and senior managers often may have only a vague understanding of the goals. To get where you want to go, everyone from the person who sweeps the floors at night to the chief executive must know where the company is headed, what the company goals are, why the goals are important, and what their specific role is in achieving the goals.

Below are six principles for setting and then pursuing goals can have a tremendous impact on the performance of both individuals and the organization as a whole.

Bring the Team Together to Set Goals

Never set goals for others without their involvement. People will work harder to achieve the goals they create themselves, especially when working in a group. Let your people set the goals. And be sure that they are measurable.

Create the Budget

Your budget reflects the minimum acceptable performance for your company or group, and it serves as the baseline for your goals. The budget figures aren’t negotiable; they’re do-or-die targets for sales, costs, and expenses. Your budget should be realistic and achievable, but also somewhat challenging so that the goals reflect an outcome you’d be happy to accomplish.

Set Bigger, More Audacious Goals

Next, set some bigger, more audacious goals that are a stretch to reach. The big, audacious goal is the bull’s-eye of a dartboard; everyone still gets points if they miss the center but land on the board. Position these so it’s fun to shoot for them and a big win even if you fall short. Include a compensation structure with accelerators that kick in if your employees perform above budget.

Test the Goals

Test the goals against the company values and check for alignment with all parts of your business strategy. Are they in sync? If not, make the necessary changes.

Communicate the Goals

Communicate the goals over and over again. Then communicate them some more.

Provide Rewards and Feedback

Praise and reward all behaviors and any results that support reaching the goals. Provide ongoing, positive feedback to show your employees that it’s important to achieve the goals and to prime them for the next round of goal achievement.

Then Stay Focused

No matter what you decide to target and measure, the secret to success is clear. Make sure everyone understands the goal(s), has fun going for it, and stay focused on it with laser-beam precision. Once you get the goal right; amazing things can happen.

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