We’re back with the final installment of the ClearCompany goals series. Hopefully, you’ve learned a great deal over the last few weeks and we’ve given you plenty to think about when it comes to aligning, setting and monitoring goals in your company. We’ve also addressed some of the reasons that goals can fail within the enterprise. If you haven’t had a chance to read the entire goal focused series, you can get all the posts here and learn more about building a goal-focused organization.
Today, our goal (see what I did there?) is to discuss how to incorporate goals into performance management. In our discussion of why organizational goals fail, we’ll zero in on the last point. When an individual is not meeting his or her goals:
1. Don’t wait for full-scale failure
Work with your managers, directors and team leads to build parameters into your dashboard, so you can see when someone is falling behind even a little bit. Building some leeway into goal deadlines can also help you set-up your staff to succeed. When you notice an employee or department getting close to missing its deadlines or goals, have a conversation with the leadership to see what they can do to get it back on track.
2. Confront with options
When the entire company is going full steam ahead at a specific goal (or a lot of them) it can be easy to fly off the handle at the one person or team who is slowing down the entire operation. Instead, confront with a level head. State that you note the team (or person) is falling behind and offer a couple of solutions (worked out ahead of time with the department head, manager or team lead) to get back on track. Give 2-3 options but ONE timeline and ask for feedback before concluding the meeting. While it might be nice to wait for a more formal review (particularly in the case of an individual) this can violate step #1, which is to not let a goal get too far away.
3. Create a game plan
After proposing solutions and timelines, ensure that someone is there to get feedback. Whether you receive feedback through a software system or platform, or via a face to face meeting, you need to know what is behind this missed goal. There may be conflict on the team or someone sabotaging the team’s success. It could be a cultural mismatch or poor leadership. You’ll never know if you don’t work with the team to create a plan for which solution and which members of the team are responsible for fixing the issue.
4. Build trust with responsiveness
Performance management relies a great deal on members of the team being honest with one another. If your company uses 360-degree performance reviews, you’ll get a much more well-rounded picture of where the issue is when it comes to achieving goals. If you have a review system with multiple inputs over the course of the entire project, you’ll get even more insight into which team members need to have more management and oversight than others.
5. Make it clear what is acceptable moving forward
Sometimes, one bad apple spoils the bunch, if a team is consistently missing deadlines due to one or two people or a department is consistently frustrated at the lack of progress by one team, as a manager, it’s your job to deal with that problem. Create a performance plan that compares current performance with what is expected. This plan should include a solution to create performance that is acceptable within the organization. Make careful use of goals here, as they are tangible ways to improve performance and align closely with organizational needs. The best performance plans also have a clear plan of action to follow if goals are NOT met.
Goals are the road posts by which performance can be tangibly measured. When goals are reasonable, attainable, broken into digestible pieces for the entire company to tackle together, theoretically, they should be simpler to undertake. If members of your team are not able to articulate company goals and their role in achieving them, and further fall regularly behind, it’s the perfect opportunity to bring in a performance management plan.
Conversely, when goals ARE being met, many managers give the entire company an “Atta boy!” or “Atta girl!” forgetting that individuals are all informed, engaged and working toward their goals on a regular basis. A transparent and multiple role-based dashboard can help here too, rolling up accomplishments on a department, team and individual level, in order for executives to reward and appreciate employees as well!
Like school report cards, we all appreciate a quantified look at how well we’ve done, so don’t use goals simply to create better performers from your struggling employees; use it to create a strong base for training your A-players as well!
How do you use goals in your organization?
More From This Series:
- Why Aligning Corporate Goals Takes More Than Just Software
- Working with Employees to Attain Your Big Hairy Audacious Goals
- Why Goals Fail
As the head of a department in the midst of a sustained period of rapid growth, Sara has spent hundreds of hours interviewing, hiring, onboarding and assessing employees and candidates. She is passionate about sharing the best practices she has learned from both successes and failures in talent acquisition and management.