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Please note, Goals & Goals Alignment has been divided over 2 parts, & you are currently on one of the elemental parts (Part 1 of 2) For Part 1, refer here. Between these 2 elements, we attempt to elucidate on the most fundamental measure of organizational progress & success (or lack of it) – Goals.
In Dan Pink’s Ted Talk on motivation (& this equally gets addressed in Drive), he discusses the importance of autonomy when it comes to goal-based motivation. Believe it or not, most employees want and need to know four things about their work so they can contribute and feel comfortable about where they are in the organization:
- What do I need to accomplish?
- Why am I doing what I’m doing?
- How well must I do it?
- How am I doing?
Similarly, in this regard, zooming out the scale at an organizational level, goals serve four basic functions:
- They provide guidance and direction
- Motivate and inspire employees,
- Facilitates planning & organizing of resources
- Helps organizations evaluate and control performance
What’s broken with the goals, these days ??
Organizational goals help employees know where the organization is going and how it plans to get there. Drawing analogies at micro & macro level, it becomes imperative for organizations to make sure that people/teams are comfortable with the individual/micro goals, set in the realm of possibilities, cumulating into macro organizational goals, in such a way that each and every one of them is focused on achieving results – moving the flywheel from personal fulfillment to organization realization of its mission.
Unless we have a purpose, there is no reason why individuals should try to cooperate together at all or why anyone should try to organize themLyndall F. Urwick, Harvard Business Review, 1964
It’s been more than 50 years, since this was penned, but despite all of our technological and societal advances, we still seem to be struggling with this exact issue. As the authors of The Strategy-Focused Organization found, a mere 7% of employees today fully understand their company’s business strategies and what’s expected of them in order to help achieve company goals.
Goal setting and Goal alignment are a serious problem (and hence a fault-line, as the title puts it), once the organization or team expands beyond a scale of 10 – 12 people. Making sure everyone has goals that align with the organization’s purpose and vision is no small task.Also see, The ROI on Goal Management from HR ROI series
It’s easy enough for marketing or sales teams to set goals like “Acquire X users” or “Double email list.” But for other teams? When you’re in charge of your core product/strategy and need to react quickly to changes, you can’t stick to the same old static goals.So, how do the best teams in the world with products bringing in billions in revenue keep their eyes on the end goal while staying nimble and agile? Let’s find out.
Goals are the reason, your team wants to come into work every morning (Re-Read this X 2)
First off, there’s more to goal setting than just telling your team what they need to do. When done properly, goals aren’t just a to-do list, but a direct line to your company’s vision and purpose. From the recently drawn behavioral research (Flow & Atomic Habits), individuals are able to attain a state of flow (a state characterized by 9 attributes – How to Measure Flow with scales), should the goals exceed beyond their current capabilities, by approx. 4%. Effectively, goals need to aim to trigger the state of flow. This enables seeking of 2 critical needs of man’s search for meaning through work – professional mastery & actualization through work), emphasizing the need for deeper contemplation of nature of goals vis a vis the talent strategy.
Think about this stat for a second: FitBit users take 43% more steps than non-users. Why? Well, it turns out that just having insight into their data and progress towards their personal goals is enough to get peoplle to put in extra miles every day. Imagine what would happen if every member of your entire company knew for a fact that the work they were doing was moving the whole organization forward. Actually, you don’t have to imagine.
Studies have shown that committing to a goal can help improve employee performance and help build a sense of togetherness and motivation across your team. More specifically, research has shown that setting challenging and specific goals can further enhance a team’s engagement in attaining those goals.
Bottom-line is setting proper goals for the team doesn’’t just keep your team aligned with company goals. It leads to higher performance, a sense of happiness and ownership, and ultimately, success across the board.