The Biggest Goal-Setting Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

— May 19, 2017

“Goals are like your roadmap in life or a compass, if you don’t know where you want to go, you can never get there.” -Spyros Thalassinos (@sthalassinos), Founder of Design Haven


We harp on productivity numbers and calculate the ROI of employee programs with the hope that all the attention will result in better performance. What if the real stalemate was way earlier than that? What if performance was being stunted as soon as day one? Unfortunately, many leaders neglect to set performance goals with their workers which means that roadmap Thalassinos mentions either doesn’t exist or is rudimentary and unorganized. Employees need that direction for their own success, but also to ensure their job is realizing its full potential for your company.


Are you making any of these common mistakes when setting goals with your employees?



“Goals are like your roadmap or a compass…” ~@sthalassinos


Mistake! Not Setting Goals.


One of the most common goal-setting mistakes is not setting any to begin with. Only 36% of organizations have a standard, company-wide strategy for setting goals. There’s a good chance this means your organization is overlooking the importance of establishing objectives, which is a disaster for your tenured team, but an even bigger missed opportunity for those new hires you’ve spent so much time attracting.


Solution: There isn’t a shortcut. Take control of your organization and the achievements you aspire to see by simply creating a goal setting process leadership and employees can follow. It’s pivotal that you use something that’s scalable for executives to interns. It will help build habits and ensure everyone is knowledgeable of what it takes to move through the goal process with confidence. Plus, it reminds the company that no one is too new or experienced to make themselves better and push their professional boundaries.


BONUS: While we can’t give you shortcuts in creating this process, we can say that our real-time feedback tool gives you and your employees the ability to connect performance goals to specific feedback and communication. It reduces confusion and ambiguity in deliverables, but also clarifies expectations of the leader and employee.


Mistake! Making Goals Too Attainable.


How can you see greatness if you don’t set yourself up for it from the beginning? Some people will find a lucky break, but in business, it’s usually those who make it a point to plan for amazing feats that actualize them. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with focusing on the little tasks that lead to the end of a big project, but those are the daily goals, not the big ones we use to guide career trajectory or the achievements of the company. When setting goals with employees, it’s important that you find a balance between a challenge and an obvious win. An even mix will mean a motivated and satisfied employee while too much of one can mean frustration.


Solution: Set goals with employees, not for them. The reason for this is two-fold. First, it ups the transparency and communication. Your employee will be able to provide input on the direction of their job, which means the goals that are set are both maintainable and of interest to them. Additionally, the process gives them a stake in reaching completion. Plus, this creates a more common goal. For instance, they are furthering their skills while upholding the company mission.


Mistake! Forgetting To Maintain Goals.


So maybe you have a goal setting plan. You work hard to name common goals and align personal achievements to the company mission. Or maybe you don’t, but you are very goal-oriented and make it a priority to dig deep into the individual aspirations of the professionals in your company…but still, at the end of the year, those goals you’ve worked hard to develop are left unattained. The problem isn’t that you’ve neglected to set goals or even to make sure they are something that motivates your team. It’s that you’ve overlooked the objective planning stage. In order to actually hit goals, you’ve got to have a plan that will keep them on track.


Solution: Divide performance goals by projected timeframes and write them down. Did you know those who write down their goals are 50% more likely to actually achieve them? That’s right, your employee needs to leave your goal setting meeting with a physical list of the things they should achieve. To further the chances of achievement, you should help the employee develop a task and objective list that follows a week-by-week or month-by-month plan, depending on the size of the goal.


There’s no way around it, setting goals is important to seeing real progress for your employees and in your organization. Without aspirations, things get stale and stagnant. With iRevü, you can be sure that every piece of feedback you provide is furthering the various goals you and your employee has established.

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