Setting Goals for This New Year

Setting Goals for This New Year
Monday, January 7th, 2013 Scott Bossart

                A few weeks ago I briefly touched on establishing goals for the upcoming year.  The time is here!  After more thought and discussions with folks, I felt it pertinent to elaborate in more detail, or at the least from a broader perspective.  Typically goal setting coincides at the end of the year while everyone is working to finalize year end performance.  But often times, the goal setting exercise is more formalized and documented at the beginning of the next year.  Goals are considered the drivers from which everyone actually functions within an organization.  Whether documented or not, everyone has goals they are working towards.  The term of the targets can be either short term goals, or long term goals.  For my purpose today, I will focus on typical goals applied to the new “Current Year” performance.  Goals established for each individual within the organization must coincide and be in conjunction with the overall goals for the organization  as well as the future vision.  There is an obvious disconnect if an individuals’ goals do not link, support, or coincide with the organizations goals as a whole and this type of situation can certainly be counter-productive for everyone.

                Hopefully by this point the financial plan is established for the new fiscal year.  By this I refer to a comprehensive budget for spending, income, capital, etc.  If this isn’t complete, I would strongly recommend doing it first and foremost.  If you cannot track against a fiscal plan, you will not be able to utilize the organizations’ finances to their fullest potential.  And yes, at the least, these are considered short term fiscal goals.  However, many financial budgeting also contain impacts to long term fiscal targets.  Other organizational goals are regarding productivity targets, waste reduction targets, efficiency improvement targets, etc.  Not all organizational goals needs to be tied directly to short term cost reductions but almost all at the least should be setting the stage for impacting long term reductions or long term growth potential.  There are many facets to look at pertaining to goals for an organization as a whole.  Some goals can target overall employee health and well-being.  This doesn’t necessarily mean physical health such as internal fitness centers, although a related goal could certainly be applicable.  Other than physical health, it also can refer to an overall production or procedural change which directly impacts how the employees view the organization and their overall satisfaction.  While on the face value of these types of goals, the resulting impact could return huge benefits in productivity and efficiency simply by having more content employees…Thus potentially Impacting Long Term Cost Improvement goals.

                For individual goals, the employee or staff member must see value for both the organization and themselves if you truly expect them to take ownership of an established goal target.  Granted some goals may need a little prodding for ownership, but there should be a valid business case and objective discussion to support the importance of setting the target.  Any statistical goal which is established must be reportable on a routine basis.  There has to be a method and routine in which progress or progression can be monitored during the course of the year as opposed to simply waiting on a surprise at year-end review.  Without monitoring and tracking, it becomes more like managing your bank account without recording any transactions or being able to see the account balance until the end of the year…guessing never works well.  Other goals can pertain to personal well-being but the caution is in the type of facilitation offered.  It can be harder to objectively consider the initial cost of implementing something for employee benefit or well-being.  If things are simply left up to the discretion or self-discipline of the employee, there is a higher risk of failure.  On the same thought logic, it is easy, but also can be risky, to establish a goal for someone and simply expect them to perform finding their own path for success.  It is far more beneficial, and certainly less risk, to establish a goal for someone and also provide, or support, the means which facilitates their success.

Success will only surface if a targeted program, process, or procedure is monitored and/or managed and not allowed to simply function in auto-pilot.  Goals which are established with Perfect World targets and are not practical in the foreseeable future environment, (typically a goal setting of 100% or a 0 value), usually sets the goal owner up for failure.  In the end, goals must be quantitative so achievement does not become a Rock, Paper, Scissors decision process.  You have to consider all goals from the end of year perspective and ask if there is a definable path to facilitate success and a measurable target to validate that success.  Facilitating a path for success will certainly lower the risk of failure and is recommended.  This means if the goal owner does fail, it was truly owned.  Granted, some folks in the organization may not need a lot of facilitation or guided paths for succeeding or exceeding in a goal, as they will make their own.  These types of folks will potentially stand out as future leaders in the organization.  It is important to be realistic and understand not everyone possesses these types of self-driven qualities.  This is not a bad thing and the overall goal should be what is in the best interest of the organization and how does each person fit within the organizations’ overall targets…both short and long term.  Again, the future vision establishes the direction.  The goals establish a path forward to get there.

Stay Well

Scott B.


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