How to Set a Goal That Creates Success Rather Than Encourages Deceipt

I’m a huge advocate of setting goals. And many companies, along with their individual departments, set new goals at the start of every year. But some goals may actually be counterproductive. When goals are too narrow and inflexible, they may discourage your team members, causing them to cut corners in customer service. They may even lie in an effort to meet stringent demands.  One question that you must consider when setting goals is “Are our goals motivating or discouraging our team members?”

How do you know whether or not your goals are working? In combination with consistent tracking and monitoring,Teamwork-goal asking your people how new goals are working out for them is a revealing strategy. Of course, goals are designed, in part, to stretch the boundaries of people and organizations in order to increase skill and efficiency. But, if you spot negative consequences to your team members that were not intended by the goals set, then, you need to rethink and realign your goals.

For example, most call centers have a specific goal to increase the number of calls handled within every hour. However, this type of goal has the potential to backfire, causing employees to provide low-quality customer service in the effort to meet this goal. Zappos, the famous online shoe store, does not limit the amount of time that employees speak with customers. As a result, employees do not feel rushed. And better yet, they are able to maintain extreme productivity.

When monitored carefully, goal setting also has great benefits. The process of setting goals gives your team members clarity, calmness, and confidence — and most importantly, buy-in to your organization’s mission.

How do you do it right?

It’s easier than you may think. Simply follow these three easy steps:

Step 1: Manager or CEO creates one main goal for each department every year. (For example, the call center is to decrease the response time to complaints.)

Step 2:  Employees determine which one to three steps must take place each month in order to reach that goal. Write down the steps and post them where everyone can easily and repeatedly see them. (Most likely, these will be the smaller steps that the manager would have set anyway.) (For example, 1: delegate specific people to monitor social media comments and to reply within two hours. 2:. when a customer calls with a complaint, provide an immediate resolution or have a supervisor call the customer back within 12 hours. 3:. help team members who are over loaded with work.

Step 3: Track the results.

As you can see, it is important to get your team involved. As with your mission statement (as discussed in last week’s blog post) the more your team buys into the organization’s purpose and vision, the more they will be motivated and empowered to consistently deliver great service.

Strategies that Turn it Around:

1. Be specific and realistic with your goals – if too broad in scope or scale, a goal can discourage your team

2. Be flexible – if a goal is not working as intended, change it

3. Get your employees involved

4. Keep track and monitor

5. Reward team members for their efforts and for goals met

Leave your comments below on your goal setting efforts. I love hearing about your progress.

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