Master the Art of Effective Goal Setting

Tips for Successful Goal Setting in Business

Reading Time: 6 minutes

While the majority of organizations put lots of effort to achieving their goals, the goal setting process itself does not always get the attention it deserves. However, the importance of setting the right objectives cannot be underestimated. It is a vital step that paves the way for successful goal achievement in the future. 

How to set business goals? How to do this effectively? Why is it important? The Goals team has the answers to these and other related questions. Check this piece and employ the best goal setting practices in your business. 

  1. What is goal setting
  2. Why goal setting is important
  3. Five principles of goal setting
    1. Clarity
    2. Commitment
    3. Challenge
    4. Task complexity
    5. Feedback
  4. What are successful goal setting tips for business
    1. Before you start setting business goals 
    2. During the process of setting your business goals
    3. After your business goals are formulated 
  5. Bottom line on goal setting

What is goal setting

Goals, according to Dr. Edwin Locke and Dr. Gary Latham, are the “object or aim of an action, for example, to attain a specific standard of proficiency, usually within a specified time limit.”

Goal setting, in turn, is the process by which we identify and plan the goals we want to achieve. Again, according to Dr. Locke, “Every person’s life depends on the process of choosing goals to pursue; if you remain passive you are not going to thrive as a human being.”

Locke & Latham’s goal setting theory is based on the idea that conscious goals incent action. They also claim that conscious human behavior is purpose-driven and directed by individual goals. To put it simply, we should determine what is beneficial for us and set goals to achieve this. 

Businessman sitting in front of a laptop, thinking about his business goals

Same applies to organizations. For a business to achieve the desired results, its actions should be driven by specific business objectives.  

Why goal setting is important

There is a wealth of research in the field of goal setting, particularly within organizations. According to Dr. Latham, the setting of objectives results in the increase in employee motivation and organizational commitment. 

Besides, objectives influence the intensity of our actions and emotions. The more complex and thought-out an objective is, the more efforts will be committed to achieve it, and the more sense of success we experience with this achievement. 

Five principles of goal setting

Setting clearly specified objectives generally results in better performance. In the result of a profound research Dr. Edwin Locke and Dr. Gary Latham formulated 5 key principles of goal setting. They are: 

1. Clarity

Goals’ clarity positively affects motivation and satisfaction in the workplace. Goals that are specific put you and your organization on the right course. On the contrary, vague objectives have a limited motivational value. So make sure to formulate all your objectives in a clear, unambiguous, and explicit way to make their achievement easier. 

2. Commitment

Goal performance is highest when people are committed to achieving it. It is even higher when objectives are complex. With proper commitment to their achievement, if a person discovers their performance is not as good as needed, they are likely to increase their efforts or change their actions. 

3. Challenge

Achievements and anticipation of achievement has a power to motivate us. When we know that an objective is challenging, yet within our abilities, there are more chances we are highly motivated to achieve it. Proper challenge can improve performance due to increased self-satisfaction and motivation to employ new strategies to push our limits and test skills.

Goal setting tip: Make your goals challenging yet possible to achieve

4. Task complexity

Though objectives should be challenging, don’t set overly complex goals, as the excessive complexity can negatively impact productivity, morale, and motivation. Also, failure to achieve such goals will lead to frustration and dissatisfaction. And if you do need to set complex tasks, be highly realistic about the timescale and potential delays. 

5. Feedback

Feedback helps to determine how well you are doing. This lets you adjust the goal and the approach to achieving it. Monitor the progress, reflect upon your capabilities to achieve it, and if required, set new, more attainable objectives

What are successful goal setting tips for business

To help you set the right business objectives that can be achieved, we’ve summarized a few tips, splitting them in three parts: what to do before, during, and after the goal setting process. 

I. Before you start setting business goals 

    • Do a SWOT analysis. It stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, and it is an effective strategy planning technique that helps to evaluate the internal and external factors linked to your business. This method can help you analyze challenges and business opportunities before you set and start achieving your goals. 
    • Carry out market analysis. Answer questions like what is trending in your sphere of business and where your industry is heading.
    • Do internal and competitive benchmarking. It lets you compare performance in different areas across your and your competitors’ organizations.
    • Review your previous performance. Determine where you’re coming from to decide where you should be heading. Analysis of your past performance can help you set more accurate objectives in future. And the more accurate they are, the more chances that your organization achieves them. 
    • Obtain input from employees. Employee feedback should give your top management insight from the ground level of the organization. And once you get the feedback, make sure to actually use it, otherwise employees will be less prone to share it in the future. 
    • Determine those in charge of business goals setting. Will your organizations’ mid-level management be involved, or just senior leaders? How about the board of directors? The number of people responsible for setting your business objectives largely depends on the size of your organization, but keep it low enough so as to not overburden the decision making process. 

Businessman on Start line, who has analyzed his business and ready to start the goal setting process

II. During the process of setting your business goals

  • Make sure each goal is aligned with your company mission and vision. This ensures that all objectives you set are directed at what your organization aims to achieve in the long term. Goal-oriented planning tools can be a huge help at this point!
  • Set realistic goals. Are your objectives achievable? Be optimistic but realistic. Unrealistic objectives may discourage you from going on with your endeavor. It’s okay to have stretch goals, but you should be able to achieve them in 3- or 5-year term. 
  • Formulate goals in a descriptive manner. Try to be as specific and descriptive as possible. This raises the chance that everyone gets the same understanding of each goal, allowing to avoid any confusion.  
  • Ensure goals are appropriately sized. If a goal is too large, break it down into smaller goals and tasks. The achievement of smaller objectives becomes a reward in itself and delivers the positive feeling of success. 
  • Create a goals tree. Your end target or mission statement should be at the very top of the tree. The next level includes smaller goals aimed at achieving your main target. The principle is similar to creating mind maps. It’s easy to do with a goal-oriented tool for managing projects, like Goals by KeepSolid, that provides mind-mapping feature. 
  • Check that your goals are measurable. Make sure that your goals can be tracked, analyzed in one way or another, and measured. If you’re using the Goals app, for example, you can set KPI for any goal you create. This lets you see if you’re actually achieving your objectives, and at what pace. 

Goals by KeepSolid screen

  • Determine actions to achieve your business goals. Just setting an objective is not enough to drive your business to success. What you need to do is to identify goal related tasks and create a well-thought out action plan. The Goals software lets you add an unlimited tasks adjusted to the goal set, organize them in sprints, move towards your objectives, and track the progress. 
  • Assign the person responsible for each of your goals. Examine and consider your team member roles and responsibilities to ensure continuous advancement towards achievement of your objectives.   

III. After your business goals are formulated 

  • Share your goals with others. Sharing goals makes us more inclined to demonstrate accountability and commitment. Does every involved party in your organization understand the objectives set and why they need to be achieved? Communicate your goals so that your shared efforts ensure success of your organization or project. 
  • Evaluate and reflect upon your goals. However accurate goal setting you’ve done, you need to constantly assess how well you’re doing. Check in on your progress and reassess or redefine your objectives if required.  
  • Believe in your abilities, but be aware it is OK if something doesn’t go according to plan. Reevaluating and rethinking your objectives is part and parcel of the process. 

Bottom line on goal setting

Clear, well-defined objectives help to understand the direction your organization is heading in, increase motivation and commitment. Incorporate effective goal setting techniques to skyrocket your chances for success. 

If you wish to make the process easier, employ the special goal-oriented tool – Goals by KeepSolid. It possesses all the features to effectively set, monitor, and achieve your business goals.

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