Setting goals is useless unless you activate the goals properly

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Setting goals and tracking results towards targets is table stakes in performance driven organizations. To increase the chances of succeeding all leaders should consider taking goal activation to a new level. Goal activation is about securing the unique motivation triggers for team as well as individuals.

Goal definitions are often given

The definition of goals for a performance driven organization are often a given.  Goals propagate through the organization down to unit and team levels. But a big factor remains for the team leader. For best result you need to secure activation take place and focus on the unique attributes of the team and its team members.

The goal activation addresses three aspects of execution towards the goals. The definition of the goals should be Specific, Measureable, Attainable Relevant and Time-framed (SMART). The identified hinders for achieving each goals need is essential. The alternatives routes; above, around or under hinders, are worth a discussion.

The factors above and motivational triggers will determine your success. The purpose of the goal activation is to secure a motivational fire is lit in the team and in each team member. Lighting fires in peoples minds is a crucial performance differentiator.

Activation of goals on team level

The results will be dependent on both team and individual efforts. The activation of the team goals addresses what defines success for the team. How do we define success as a team? How many goals do we need to fulfill as a team to be successful? What will be the benefits for the team when we reach the goals? Is the team in control of reaching the defined goals?

As a leader this part of the goal activation is about understanding the motivational triggers for a specific your team. Expect it to vary been different teams your have or are managing. The smaller the team the easier it is to find common motivational trigger the whole team can unite around.

Activation of goals on individual level

The goal activation on individual levels will have larger variations in motivation triggers. The defined goals coupled to individual motivational triggers are vital for success. It is less important what the triggers are. But it is fundamental to find the motivational trigger that characterizes each team member for a given goal. Here are a few generic motivational trigger:

  • Public recognition when accomplished.
  • Opportunity for personal development
  • Ability to leverage already developed personal strengths as an area of authority
  • Sense of satisfaction for being part of a successful team
  • Ability to take on assignments on behalf of the leader of your team
  • Increased status in the organization
  • Pave the road for future promotions
  • Financial compensations

Expect 1-3 motivational triggers to be in place for each team member. When you find them you will see the eyes lighting up. Expect triggers to go well outside the examples above. Aim to go deep enough to find the underlying drivers for each trigger.

Planning for goal activation

Leaders planning to activate goals on team and individual level

  1. How will goal fulfillment make the team feel when reaching the goal?
  2. Which triggers turn on the whole team around the defined goals?
  3. What are the unique motivational triggers for each team member?
  4. Who in your team is likely to struggle to perform at his/her highest level for the goals you have defined?
  5. How should we distribute the responsibilities and loads to reach team goals.

When activated you need to watch for the risk of to over-activation of a goal. When belief is so strong causing owner to believe it is already fulfilled.

Additional reading:

2 thoughts on “Setting goals is useless unless you activate the goals properly

  1. Pingback: How transform from yearly to quarterly execution goals in 5 quarters | Tweeter Linder

  2. Pingback: Writing template – Quarterly goals for execution of strategic priorities | Tweeter Linder

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