CascadingGoals-1Once you’ve decided on your theme and overall goals for the organization, as I spoke about in my last blog, the next step is defining the specific objectives and activities (with due dates) that will help you achieve those goals. A critical activity in this process is communicating company goals and what needs to be done to achieve them to employees. Employees are, after all, the engine that will help drive the organization toward those goals.

As you work with your employees to set their goals, be sure they understand how their individual and team goals tie to the organizational goals. Employees are more likely to be motivated and engaged when they can see how their work impacts the organization as a whole.

When you set goals, be sure they are SMART goals. Effective goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. In our dynamic work environments, organizational goals (and team goals) may shift as priorities change during the year, so be sure to have periodic reviews with employees to update goals as needed. This also gives you the opportunity to understand cause and effect if something slips.

It’s important to keep goals visible. Too often they get tucked away in a PowerPoint – out of sight and out of mind. Consider giving employees a chart or graphic of organizational goals that they keep at their desks to remind them of the destination and inspire them to engage in the journey.

Provide employees with support in terms of resources and guidance as they work on their goals. Are they having trouble getting the input, effort or approvals needed from others in order to complete the goal? Are there roadblocks? Use this as a coaching opportunity and work together to develop a path forward.

When goals are achieved, recognize the achievement. For especially challenging or stretch goals, spend some time with the employee discussing his or her approach, lessons learned, and/or things that could have been done differently.

Cascading and communicating goals may seem like a no brainer, yet so many organizations fail to do so. In his book The 8th Habit, Stephen Covey shared the results of a survey of 23,000 employees drawn from various companies and industries:

  • Only 37% said they have a clear understanding of what their organization is trying to achieve and why
  • Only 1 in 5 was enthusiastic about their team’s and their organization’s goals
  • Only 1 in 5 said they had a clear “line of sight” between their tasks and their team’s and the organization’s goals
  • Only 15% felt that their organization fully enables them to execute key goals

Be ahead of the curve and motivate your employees by cascading goals!