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Tips for setting effective business goals

Feb. 28, 2022
While setting goals sounds like an easy task, companies should be sure to avoid these common missteps.

Goals are important because they provide direction, help us focus on what is important, and provide clarity in the decision-making process. Goals can be set companywide, by department, or by individual teams within an organization.

While setting goals sounds like an easy task, according to Nicole Klemp of 15Five, there are ways to improve the goal-setting process. For goal achievement to be successful there must be buy-in from company leaders. This is necessary to ensure people within an organization are working on the corporate objectives. She also said it is important to set incremental goals within the larger goals so people can see that they are making progress toward the larger ones.

Klemp also shared some common missteps that happen when setting goals. The first is setting too many of them. Goals should focus on what is most important and need to be clear and specific. Set a reasonable number of goals that address current priorities. Once a goal is achieved, it’s OK to add a new one.

See also: How to build a strong organization

Make sure you are setting goals that align with other areas of the business. In other words, come out of your own silo to see how your goals will impact other areas of the business. It is not helpful to have your team’s goals be at cross-purposes to departmental or corporate goals, or even goals of other teams within your division. Make sure to get cross-functional alignment and work to develop those that aren’t in conflict with other goals.

Goals should be firm, but not so firm that they can’t be adjusted during unforeseen circumstances—think COVID-19. It is a balancing act to make sure goals set direction but don't tie your hands if circumstances change dramatically.

Klemp also said that it is important not to confuse goals with strategy. “Strategies and tactics are the things a team does to achieve goals,” she explained.

See also: Find success in trucking in 2022

Finally, make sure your team understands why you are setting goals. “Communicate to employees why having clear, documented goals is important to the business and how it can help them be successful in their own roles,” Klemp said.

Goals help everyone in the organization know what direction they are headed in and what they need to do to help the company be successful. “Goal setting is a team sport,” Klemp concluded. “Everyone from executives on down needs to know the playbook and understand how they’re performing toward their goals.”

Jane Clark focuses on managing the member services operation at NationaLease as vice president of member services. She works to strengthen member relationships, reduce member costs, and improve collaboration within the NationaLease supporting groups.

About the Author

Jane Clark | Senior VP of Operations

Jane Clark is Senior Vice President, Operations for NationaLease. Prior to joining NationaLease, Jane served as Area Vice President for Randstad, one of the nation’s largest recruitment agencies, and before that, she served in management posts with QPS Companies, Pro Staff, and Manpower, Inc.

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