Effective goal setting

Is Setting Goals your Number 1 Priority?

Setting goals and objectives should be your number 1 priority if you want to take charge of both your professional and personal life, take control the wheel and get out of the backseat. Setting goals and objectives will not just enhance your career or quality of life, lets face it you can't get what you want if you don't know what you're going for. In addition to the fact that goals have an extraordinary power over the direction of your life and business and also don't forget that accomplishing a goal that you worked really hard for is one of the more satisfying pleasures a person can experience. 


Set goals that are linked to business priorities
Objectives must be regularly reviewed and updated as circumstances change.


Linked to results, not activities
This means that we are concerned with output not activities - the ends and not the means.


Measurable and specific
Objectives must state what exactly is to be measured, and within that, define acceptable levels of performance.


Challenging but attainable
Ideally, your people should set their own objectives. Often these will be tougher than if set by the manager. They should be stretching, challenging and developmental. Weed out unattainable objectives as these can be de-motivating.


Matching experience and capability
Objectives should take account of the individual’s ability, experience, knowledge and any development plan in place.


Certain things may occur which affect the objective being measured but which are out of the control of the jobholder. As a result, objectives must be regularly updated, taking account of the business environment.


Number of objectives
Don’t set too many objectives. It is better to focus on a few quality areas rather than a long list which is impossible to achieve.

Compatible upwards/downwards/sideways Objectives should not clash with other people’s activities, so they need to be compatible upwards, downwards and sideways.. 


Hard  Vs Soft objectives

Hard objectives can be measured clearly in terms of outputs such as turnover, profit, percentage increases, etc.

Soft objectives define the difference between ‘acceptable’ and ‘excellent’ performance. Soft objectives cover areas where the way the job is done is as important as the quantitative results.

Often soft objectives are measured through: Customer feedback Surveys, complaints, mystery shopping.

It is important to break down soft objectives into desirable behaviours, for example a positive attitude for a bank teller tells you little until it is broken down into: - Politeness
- Smiling and good eye contact with
- the customer at all times
- Appearance
- Calm and practical approach
- Good knowledge of the Bank’s services and systems


What is goal cascading?

Cascading goals to department goals

Cascading goals means breaking down the corporate goals into a set of smaller goals that are relevant to each department. A simple way to think about this process is to think about goals spilling over a cliff like a waterfall.

Goals must spread throughout an entire organization in order to be executed.

The department goals describe what each unit needs to achieve. These goals are then broken down further until individuals in the unit have their own performance goals. In this way, progress throughout the organization is measurable.

Cascading goals isn’t an easy or fast process. Be prepared to meet resistance in getting people to get on board. Some may need specific training because they don’t know how to develop goals and others may need coaching to enhance their performance.





Objectives need to be set at all levels of the business. This ensures commitment at the higher levels of management and clear goals and objectives at lower levels. This is often achieved through cascading the corporate or strategic objectives into individual jobs.

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