How to Create Performance Goals that Work – 3 Criteria Matter Most

How to Create Performance Goals that Work – 3 Criteria Matter Most
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Not All Goals Are Effective
We know from leadership simulation assessment data that the best leaders and people managers know how to create performance goals that work for their teams and the company as a whole.  Average managers take goal clarity for granted and allow ambiguity to be OK.

Why Performance Goals Matter
Performance goals define what is expected of an employee in their role.  When they are done correctly, performance goals:

  • Set clear performance expectations for the employee, their boss, and key stakeholders
  • Define clear boundaries regarding the specific scope of work, team norms, roles, and responsibilities
  • Make a direct connection between individual success and overall company and team success

The Art of Setting Goals
Great leaders know that there is only a narrow window in human psychology where a performance goal will have the desired effect of motivating their people to perform at their peak.

  • Too Difficult
    If the performance goal is perceived to be too difficult, it will most likely result in disengagement.
  • Too Easy
    If the performance goal is perceived to be too easy, it can result in a lack of effort to pursue a potentially greater objective and also create employee disengagement.

So there is a window of “just possible” that makes goal setting more potent in driving improved performance.

Using Action Learning to Improve Goal Setting Skills
While many leaders and team members learn about performance goal setting through painful trial and error, we have found that a customized action learning program for leaders and managers can significantly improve goal setting capabilities and results.

The action learning approach works because it allows leaders to receive relevant, meaningful, and timely feedback and skill building while getting real work done.

Why Meaning Matters for Performance Goals
A performance goal without high meaning can rarely be effective in stimulating a significant behavior change or a high performance outcome. If employees understand how their individual goals and objectives align and relate to those of the overall organization, they are more likely to derive greater levels of purpose and meaning from those objectives.

Greater meaning is critical to success especially in leadership development programs where leaders must learn to respond positively to and thrive with increased ambiguity, speed and performance pressure.

The Bottom Line on Performance Goals
If you want to know how to create performance goals that work, remember performance goals must be:

  1. Just achievable
  2. Meaningful
  3. Relevant

To learn more about how to create performance goals that work, download 7 Immediate Management Actions to Create Alignment with Goals

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