No matter the size of your agency, there's a good chance that you regularly rely on collaboration and teamwork to get things done. However, excellent teamwork isn't something that happens overnight. One of the best ways to encourage better teamwork and overall productivity? Setting goals that your teams can work towards together.
Of course, setting your teams up for success means starting with effective team goals. Not sure where to begin when it comes to strong goal-setting? We've got you covered with some tips and best practices.
With a better grip on what defines team goals and why they matter, it's time to get the ball rolling on setting some within your own organization. But where do you begin? While the exact goal-setting process may vary from one team to the next, we've got some practical steps you can follow to get started with establishing effective team goals.
Start by looking at the big picture. No matter your specific role within the organization, it's important that you and your team set goals that align with the company's overall direction and objectives. Depending on the size and scope of your agency, it may be necessary to meet with other managers or other departments to get everybody on the same page before you sit down to set goals with your team.
When you meet with managers or other higher-ups, be sure to clearly explain and connect your own team's work with the organization's goals. These might be obvious to you, but they probably won't be to somebody from another department. Once you've got a better feeling for how your team can best contribute to the company goals, you can move forward more confidently.
Next, it's time to think about what you want to accomplish within your team. This is often easier said than done, as there may be dozens of outcomes you'd like your team to achieve — but context is important here. Consider, for starters, the conversations you had with other managers or team supervisors to get a feel for which goals could best support the organization.
From there, consider other factors, such as your team's (and individual team members') strengths and skill sets. It can also be helpful to examine areas where your team or agency as a whole may be lacking so that you can set goals to improve. This should help you narrow things down and move forward to the next step.
It's great to have business goals, but not all of them are created equal. At the end of the day, you want your team focused on SMART goals. What does this mean? SMART is an acronym for a goal-setting method that many successful teams follow. It stands for:
The team goals that you set should be specific enough that you can explain exactly what needs to be accomplished, what steps need to be taken in order to achieve it, and who is responsible for what each step of the way.
Ideally, goals should also be easily measurable. This means that you can quantify your team's work to track progress and success over time using specific metrics, key performance indicators (KPIs), and objectives and key results (OKRs).
For example, if your team's goal is to increase the number of users on a new mobile app, setting a measurable goal means you'll specify exactly how many new users you want to see by a specific date/deadline.
SMART goals are also actionable, meaning there should be clear steps each team member can take to contribute to the team's overall progress. Setting actionable goals ensures that every team member understands how their role fits into the big picture and helps to keep them focused on the specific tasks they need to tackle to move the team forward.
This one can be a little challenging, but it's important to set team goals that are realistic and attainable. While goals should require your team to work harder, it's important to understand what's possible versus what may be unrealistic. Otherwise, you may be setting yourself (and your team) up for failure.
When determining whether a goal is realistic, consider potential factors or constraints that could affect your team's ability to achieve it. Financial constraints, time constraints, and lack of resources can all impact a goal's attainability. Focus on setting smaller, more achievable goals; as your team crushes these goals, this will build momentum and keep them motivated to do even more.
Last but not least, SMART goals should be time-bound, meaning that you should tie them to a specific deadline that everybody can work toward. For example, your team might set a goal to increase web traffic by 5% within two months. Having a deadline for achieving goals can help teams better focus on the individual steps that need to be carried out and prioritize these steps with their other work.
Now that you have a better idea of how to set SMART goals, you can sit down with your team and set some goals together. As you do this, be sure to note any resources or tools you'll need to be successful and stay productive. Make sure your team has access to these before you expect them to get started.
Once you've set your team goals, it's a good idea to let individual team members set their own goals (using the SMART framework) as well. After all, many workers thrive not just on working towards organizational goals, but on bettering themselves in the process.
Next, set a realistic time frame for achieving your team goals. This is where it will be crucial to speak with your team and determine what's viable based on their current workload and other constraints. Once you have a target deadline in place, creating a project timeline with smaller, individual goals and milestones can also be helpful to keep everything on track.
While your team will work towards a common goal, each member will bring something different to the table. Set aside time to check in with each team member and see how you can better support them in their personal goals.
This might include scheduling one-on-one meetings with team members each week, providing feedback on each member's work or progress, and ensuring each member has access to the tools they need to do their part. Likewise, occasional performance reviews can help employees better understand how they're doing.
Whether your team is working towards a goal over the course of a few weeks or a few months, tracking progress along the way is important.
Set up regular progress meetings where you sit down with your team and discuss where you are along the projected timeline and what still needs to be done. This will keep everybody on the same page while improving accountability among individual team members.
Finally, be prepared to evaluate your team's overall performance and provide individual feedback to team members.
This should be done not just throughout the project, but afterwards — regardless of whether the initial goals were met or not.
By reflecting on what worked well versus the project's shortcomings, you can empower team members to learn from mistakes and be even more successful next time.
As you prepare to set team goals within your organization, it can also be helpful to consider some examples of SMART goals.
So, what does your team (and your agency as a whole) stand to gain from having strong goals? The rewards are limitless, but let's explore a few of the most enticing advantages of team goal-setting.
Because achieving a common goal will require members of your team to work together, regularly setting and pursuing team goals is an excellent way to strengthen collaboration. Over time, team members will learn how to work together more effectively and get things done. Along the way, employees can also strengthen their bonds, thus boosting morale and job satisfaction.
Having your team work towards shared goals also creates a stronger sense of personal accountability among team members.
This is because with strong goal setting, each team member has very specific tasks and responsibilities; there is no question or confusion over who is responsible for what. If deadlines are missed, the employees who dropped the ball know they're to blame.
Ultimately, this greater sense of accountability and ownership in a team setting can foster better productivity and time management.
Because you'll be checking in with your team (and its individual members) throughout each stage of a project, this provides some excellent opportunities for coaching that you might not get to explore otherwise.
Regular team meetings can alert you to potential shortcomings or other obstacles that may hinder progress and issues that may need your attention to work through. This, in turn, allows you to strengthen your own coaching skills while helping your team work towards its goals.
Strong team goals also make it easier to identify individual contributions within a larger group. Because part of smart goal setting is assigning specific tasks to individual workers, it's easier to see exactly whose skills shine through as team members work towards a common objective. And when you take the time to recognize your workers' contributions, you can increase employee engagement and productivity by up to 14%.
The right goal-setting strategy can unite your teams to work better together while aligning expectations and striving toward organizational success. With these tips in mind, you'll be well on your way to more confident and conscious goal setting, no matter the size or scope of your agency's teams.
With tools and features to support team communication every step of the way, Range is here to make setting and achieving team goals easier than ever. Reach out today to learn more about what Range can do for your organization and to get started for free!
Team goals refer to long-term targets that a group commits to working toward together, often over a specific time period. Compared to personal/professional goals or individual goals, team goals allow every contributing member to contribute meaningfully towards a common cause, showcasing and developing their skills along the way.
The terms "goals" and "objectives" are often used interchangeably, though objectives actually refer more specifically to the measurable steps you take to achieve a goal.
Whether your agency has a dozen employees or hundreds of employees, taking the time to set team goals can help you achieve higher levels of success in several ways.
Aligning the team and setting expectations
Setting goals and working towards them as a team is a great way to align group members while setting clear expectations for each employee. Having a clear goal or outcome in place provides each worker with a clear understanding of their responsibilities and how their work contributes to the final outcome.
Prioritizing the right initiatives
While company objectives and goals may seem obvious to you, it's important to realize that your employees might not share the same mindset. Rather than assuming everybody is on the same page, setting clear team goals ensures that the right initiatives are being prioritized and pursued — rather than simply hoping everybody is thinking the same way as you.
Building or maintaining a positive team dynamic
Clear team objectives are also a great way to build or maintain a positive dynamic among workers. When every team member understands their roles and responsibilities as they relate to the target outcome, employees can more easily and productively work together toward that common goal.
Connecting the team with the larger organization
Within organizations of all sizes, individual employees and teams may sometimes struggle to understand where they "fit in" within the organization as a whole. This is more common for larger agencies, where many departments and teams may work in different capacities. By having unified goals for these teams to work towards, these employees may have an easier time connecting with the organization as a whole.