At ClearCompany, we take goals seriously. We understand just how pivotal they are to the entire infrastructure of a business and because of that, we have worked hard to provide a great deal of information around setting and attaining business goals so your team can tackle projects, large and small. Knowing the steps to creating a goal-oriented business model is great, but what are the facts under all those steps. Why do they approach work?
The brain is as complicated as the humans who carry them, so while experts are gaining more knowledge about how we think and work, there are still a great deal of questions around the acts. Interestingly, neurologists, psychologists and scientists share our curiosity of how setting goals affects our brains. Experts have found when we set goals, we not only become invested in the target, we consider the outcome to be a part of who we are. When we fail to meet those goals, neurologically, our brain treats the failure as if it was the loss of a tangible possession. As for the time between setting the goal and attaining the outcome, our brain is working as though we are failing. The only way to comfort ourselves is to work toward the goal.
Neurologists & psychologists share our curiosity of how setting goals affects our brains, take a look:
Ultimately, a desired objective is so important to our brains that we cannot help but feel obligated in attaining the result. To our brain, setting goals is placing high stakes on our physical and mental responsibility. The muscle is chemically bound to hitting the mark and until we do, we are receiving signals, both of anxiety to meet expectation and exhilaration in working to achieve expectation. The bigger the possible outcome, the more invested and higher the anxiety.
What does this science lesson mean for your team?
Leaders not actively setting goals:
If you aren’t actively setting goals within your organization, then there’s a chance you’re missing some potentially groundbreaking wins. Managers are consistently looking for ways to make their team more productive. From office perks to flex work, there is a constant discussion on what leads elite companies to reach their monetary success while upholding a shining employer brand. It takes a combination of leadership techniques and company policies to create and maintain happy and productive employees. Don’t drop all other efforts in exchange for goal-based management, but implementing goals with your routine might leave employees with an extra neurological push.
Leaders actively setting goals:
On the flip side, if your company has embraced goal setting, this research shows just how important a proper performance management system is to the health of your employees. The brain’s responses to goals might be an explanation of exactly why 60% of adults reported their jobs were somewhat or significant sources of stress. The feeling of being physically and mentally invested in the goals set before us may also be the reason the new “normal” US work week is closer to 50+ hours than the traditional 40. Some employees may easily decipher the difference between attainable goals and aspirations, but other employees could be slowly burning themselves out and suffering in silence.
60% of adults reported their jobs were somewhat or significant sources of stress, here's why:
Creating Science-backed Success
As humans, we innately respond to setting goals. They help us feel prepared for the future and allow for a game plan when an unforeseen obstacle appears. This sense of attaining the desired is probably very much a part of the reason we have moved from creating the wheel to inventing self-driving vehicles. Tapping into that natural instinct for your company can have astronomical results for business tasks, but can also have a less desirable effect. That is why organizational goals and performance management must go hand in hand.
Whether you are considering implementing a new process to include organizational goals or have always been a goal-based organization, but are hoping to improve, here are some important things to keep in mind:
- Set the attainable, dream for the aspirational:
- Be transparent on your own goals:
- Keep goals in mind by staying aligned:
To be sure your employees are hitting the mark and using their skills and time wisely, check out ClearCompany’s performance management software.
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As ClearCompany's HR Business Partner, Laura focuses on all things HR including managing employee benefits, onboarding and engagement initiatives. With a keen focus on best-practices, she serves as a strategic partner to the leadership team by acting as a trusted resource on a wide variety of human resources topics including policy interpretation, creating and recommending enhancements to the HR process, and career development.