Goals and Goal Setting

Matt Berther bio photo By Matt Berther Comment

Goals and Goal Setting:

In the book What They Don't Teach you at Harvard Business School, Mark McCormak discusses the importance of setting goals. The students in the 1979 Harvard MBA program were surveyed and asked "Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?" Only three percent of the graduates had written goals and plans; 13 percent had goals, but they were not in writing; and 84 percent had no specific goals at all.

Ten years later, the members of the class were surveyed again. The 13 percent of the class that had goals were earning an average of twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at all. However, the three percent that had clear, written goals were earning on average, ten times the other 97 percent combined.

For many of us, during this time of year, we begin to look at performance reviews for our team members. An important part of a good performance review are effective goals for the coming year. I am certainly not a management expert and most of the ideas that I will share with you today are not my own. However, I do see value in each of the ideas. For me, these ideas make the goal setting process easier. I certainly hope that they can do the same for you.

Top Tips:

  • Strong relationships with directs is paramount
    • Many management leaders propose that having weekly one-on-ones is the single most important way to cultivate a positive relationship with your direct reports.
    • 10/10/10 agenda
      • 10 minutes for the direct to discuss whatever they want
      • 10 minutes for you to discuss whatever you would like with the direct
      • 10 minutes to discuss business and progress toward goals
  • Create MT goals (measurable and timely) and use SMART to validate them
    • Examples:
      • By April 30, 2011, consolidate the presentation models used by the company's applications.
      • Integrate the new ERP system with the CRM system by October 31, 2010.
  • Create goals that intersect business and individual objectives
    • Examples:
      • By April 30, 2011, combine multiple automated test frameworks into a single framework and increase coverage of automated tests by 20% using the consolidated framework.
      • Complete Microsoft developer certification 70-515 by April 30, 2011.
  • Emphasize cross-team collaboration
    • Examples:
      • Participate in a mentorship program to grow understanding of our organization's business by April 30, 2011.
      • Participate in a mentoring program to enhance leadership and communication skills by December 31, 2009.
  • Create personal goals
    • Examples:
      • Run a 5K race in less than 32 minutes by April 30, 2010
      • Receive a belt promotion in my chosen martial art by December 31, 2011
  • Be flexible

"I'm much more likely to accomplish something if I write my goals down and share my goals with others. Recruiting the support of other people also helps keep me on track."

"What was/is valuable to me is taking into account what I want to do when setting goals. That results in my engagement right from the start."

"I think the addition of a personal goal is a great idea. It's good for promoting personal improvement and makes the goal setting process less painful."

I have used this model for a number of years. The quotes above are a few pieces of feedback that I received from my team regarding these ideas.