Your team is going to achieve a goal this year.
The question is will it be a goal you want, or a goal they want? Will it be a goal you settle for or a goal you design? Will your team ‘buy in’ or will they ‘sell out’ on the results?
Goals for a group are different than your singular goals. Most often owners, managers and team leaders set the goal for the team based on available data and performance pressures. They know what has to be done, they know what they want to do and they expect their team to say “YES!” to achievement of the goal. They are ‘the leader’ and they anticipate those who ‘follow’ will automatically fall in step and achieve greatness. It is a singular goal, given to the group and, sadly, destined to failure.
To create a goal that a team of people will achieve requires more of an action plan and here are five steps to create ‘buy in’ and therefore success.
1. Provide the group with available data. Show them previous results. Clearly layout for the team your company objectives, timelines and any pressures, such as competition and market timelines, that affect their goal. Don’t give them the goal; just give them the pertinent facts and your quiet expectation of success. The facts you choose to layout will determine the direction of their goal.
2. In a group setting ask team members what they can do individually. There are many reasons for doing this in a group, but I won’t delve into them here. Using a bit of strategy ask your team what they want to add to sales, market penetration, or perhaps safety results. As they offer individual goals keep a tally and prepare to be surprised, the final number will probably be bigger than anything you would have set singularly.
3. Now refine the goal so it can be achieved- together. First ask the team if they can do this. Make sure they are committed to the final number and that they understand what company decisions will be based on this goal. If the tally was way too high, this is when it is adjusted. If there is a worry the goal cannot be reached, or will fall short of company needs this is when you talk about it. The team, who are actively building this goal from the bottom up, are proud of the goal, proud of the direction and will sort out the details for themselves. Your job as leader is to facilitate the direction of the conversation.
4. Fully support this goal- it came from them- it will be achieved by them. Your role as leader is to give them needed tools, needed support and ongoing conversations about the goal. If you have not already, initiate a series of brief weekly check- ins so you know where your individual players are in moving towards their contribution to the group goal and what areas they need help with. Advertise to everyone what results you are hitting and let them make adjustment to the activity that will drive success.
5. Know that people will do things for a team that they will not do for themselves. Nurture the idea that ‘if one wins, we all win’ and that Together Everyone Achieves More. Singular success is team success. It takes more than lip service to develop a culture like this, but it is worth the investment of time and resources. People who are in collaboration are more likely to have job satisfaction and higher results than those who are in competition.
I know that many things are easier to write than to achieve and that your team is a unique entity. You have challenges, strengths and needs that make bottom up goal setting, and achieving, a challenge. I also know that it is okay to ask for help. Find a facilitator for your goal setting meeting. Find a coach to support you and any key players who need, and are worthy of additional coaching. The key to actually hitting your needed goal this year is commitment. And, commitment is easiest to achieve when you, as the leader, and your team have full buy in. _
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