are boring and not motivating at all. Thechallenge for leaders is to go out on a limb and try to do something most leaders cannot - make your goals inspiring.
What are goals for? They are supposed to guide our actions so that we can make progress toward them. They are supposed to give us a measuring stick against which we know whether we can celebrate or look for ways to improve. Above all, they are there to motivate us and help us to make the hard decisions every day to do the things that might not be most comfortable, but will give us most return.
So here’s the question: when you look at your team’s goals, how many of those boxes are actually ticked? Do people know what they are and look for ways to work toward them every day? Do you celebrate when you achieve them? If I ask your team members, would they say that they are motivated by those team goals?
The unfortunate truth is that most team members can’t even tell you waht their team goals are... let alone be inspired by them. My observation is that only about 5% of teams truly have what I’d like to call Common Goals. Common Goals (common being the operative word here) satisfy these key things:
- Everyone can tell you what they are
- Everyone wants to work toward them every day
- Everyone is inspired by them
- They shape peoples behaviours (positively)
- Everyone feels a sense of pride and achievement when they are accomplished
So if you think your team goals could use a bit of a re-vamp, here are three key things that’ll help:
1. Use Everyday Language
Don’t complicate your team goals, vision or mission statement with lengthy business-speak and analytical words. Use everyday language that people can connect to.
Don’t say “Our goal is to uphold the standards, systems and processes as outlined in our company values and to deliver quality outcomes to our stakeholders”
Say: “We get things done. And we make people’s lives better”
2. Understand what they care about
Different people are obviously motivated by different things. Chances are what your team is motivated by is lost in the company goals and your focus on achieving targets. Ask them what they care about. What do they want to achieve? What problems do they want to fix and how will it also make their own work-lives better? You’ll hear the passion in their voices when you stumble on the right things
3. Cast aside the Corporate Goals
Ok.. you can’t completely cast aside the corporate goals, but forget about them while you try to work out what people care about. Measure them against a different set of targets that inspire them, but find the right things that fulfil the corporate goals as well. You can keep aiming for the corporate objectives, but let your people be guided by what’s best for them. If you can tie these things together, then all the better.
The reality is that most people are uninspired at work. As a leader, it’s up to you to break the mould and devise some targets that people care about, keep them inspired, and keep producing the right behaviours.