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Goal Setting in the Workplace

Goals are something that everyone has and is trying to reach. Some people’s goals are more thought out and detailed, while others may simply be New Year’s Resolutions. They might work towards it for a month, but will fall off not much longer after that. Why do people fall short of their goals? Many times, it is because they don’t have anyone holding them accountable. As stated in an article written by Teri Evans on, Daymond John says about his goals, “Five days a week, I read my goals before I go to sleep and when I wake up. There are 10 goals around health, family and business with expiration dates and I update them every six months. I believe the last thing I read at night will likely manifest when I’m sleeping. You become what you think about the most”. Daymond John keeps himself accountable, but not everyone has that type of motivation. In order to help employees at your company stay motivated with both their professional and personal goals, here are three simple ways to incorporate goals in the workplace.

Discuss Goals with Colleagues

Every morning at Underground Elephant (UE), each department has a stand-up meeting. This meeting is meant to go over the goals each team is trying to achieve for the day. For example, the sales teams discuss what the daily challenges (Spiffs) will be, and what the rewards are for meeting that goal. This is also an opportunity to talk about personal goals and have a little fun, where colleagues can share what they are each trying to accomplish outside of work.

Next, Set a Finish Date

Most of the department goals at UE either conclude at the end of the day, week, month or quarter. Adding to the fun of learning about people’s personal goals, employees can set dates on personal goals as well. If a person wants to buy tickets to a festival, when will they have those tickets in hand? Maybe a person is trying to save money for a vacation; when is that vacation? Also, when does it all need to be paid for? How about a plan to purchase a house? When do they want to buy the home? At UE, we have a program called HomePERQs, which helps employees reach the goal of purchasing a home with professional help. If a goal does not have a finish date, then most people won’t feel the sense of urgency and proceed to complete it.

Have a Visual

In a common area of the office, display a visual of people’s progress towards their goals. Most office areas have a visual for everyone to get a quick glance to see the progress of teams and individual members. This makes things transparent and can also push employees to accomplish their goals. In addition to these numbers, add a space to track employees’ personal goals. It can give the same motivation as the work goals, but can add a little extra motivation to reach that goal because of the visibility. If they are doing well towards one goal, more likely than not, they are also doing well towards others.

As stated by Steven Kotler, “In dozens and dozens of studies, Latham and Locke found that setting goals increased performance and productivity 11 to 25%.  That’s quite a boost. At the upper end, if an eight-hour day is our baseline, that’s like getting two extra hours of work simply by building a mental frame (aka a goal) around the activity” (Forbes). There are so many benefits from goal-setting that can give companies an intangible competitive advantage, so have fun and get creative with goal setting.

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