Clear And Measurable Goals For Success


Creating goals that can be held in common across the ranks and departments is essential for any organisation’s continued success. It is envisioned that the institutions of the future will be networks, clusters, cross-functional teams, temporary systems, ad hoc task forces, lattices, modules, and matrices?almost anything but pyramids.

We don?t even know yet what to call these new configurations, but we do know that the ones that succeed will be less hierarchical and have more linkages based on shared goals rather than traditional reporting relationships which breed power and discontent. Thus, it makes more sense to model your organisation on what will be prevalent in future rather than designing them on thoughts and practices of yesteryears.

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Goals & measures are necessary in any endeavour, and even more so in the current times, as they serve to bind teams in pursuit of common goals that transcend differences.

How to set clear & measurable goals in your organisation

The leadership team should do some preliminary work to bring to the larger team, who use this as input to draft their goals. This starts with the leaders identifying goals for the organisation, which align vertically with corporate goals and horizontally with peer organisations, using the ?SMART? model. For drafting the goals, consider using a framework, which includes vision and purpose, operating principles, work process, roles, key decision points, and draft goals created by the leaders. The definition of SMART is detailed below.

Specific ? Clear statement of what is to be accomplished or delivered, in concrete terms that can be easily observed and mutually understood

Measurable ? Define how success will be measured in quantitative and qualitative terms, stating the outcomes and benefits

Attainable ? Challenging and stretching but achievable

Relevant ? Tied to the overall direction of the company or business unit

Time bound ? Time frame for the goal is stated, including stages

As a manager, you should develop goals that cascade from and align with the CEO?s goals. This then becomes the starting point for the larger group. Many organisations use too many measures. The trick is to isolate the critical few.

By using the SMART model you can fine-tune, challenge, and align goals and measures. This standard organising model? is of immense use when you don’t have the support of a full-fledged HR team

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If not lesser than identifying goals, it is equally important to Identify measures that can be easily accessed through technology. The line of sight and destiny is reinforced if people and teams can readily see the results of their efforts, using a tech-enabled dashboard. Having a real time performance-tracking dashboard increases the opportunity for early correction, resulting in better outcomes. You can break down the measures into:

– Lagging ? Provides a historical look at past performance. Examples include quarterly earnings, employee turnover

– Leading ? Can be a predictor of future results; data can be analysed and action taken to affect outcomes. Examples include quality audits, employee survey results

– Real-time indicators ? Provide a snapshot of where things stand right now. Corrective action can be taken immediately to improve future results. Examples include inventory levels, sales and order volumes.

Evaluate measures against the following criteria.

– Can activities and outcomes be tracked? How and by whom?

– Will the value of the measures exceed the cost of measuring?

– Do we have a way to make the measures readily accessible to everyone?

– Will the measures drive the right behaviours with no unintended consequences?

Based on discussion and debate of brainstormed measures, identify the critical few that will be practical, timely, accessible to everyone in the startup team, irrespective of geographic location and be actionable (leading and real time). Finally, identify who will be responsible for setting up and collecting measures and communicating results.

To be successful, your business strategy has to be driven by the principle that there is a relationship between work practices, employee commitment, customer satisfaction, loyalty, and value creation. By using this framework, you will be able to facilitate alignment between individual and organisational goals.

Jappreet Sethi

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