Put Some Life in Your Goal Setting

Why is it that each time you inform everyone that it’s time to establish new goals there seems to be a collective groan heard throughout the organization?  We know goals are necessary to establish clear performance expectations, measure progress and provide accountability.  But while that last sentence is true…it just doesn’t inspire or motivate people to put their goals in writing.  There are many reasons people don’t like to set goals (a post for another day) but one of the biggest is goal setting is boring.  We have to write out a specific statement that can be measured by a realistic number to be accomplished by a certain time…zzzzzz.    

Desiring to put some life in our goal setting process at Seacoast Church this year we decided to take a different approach.  Influenced by a post by Donald Miller, (CLICK HERE to see that post)  we laid out our goals in story. Story puts heart and soul in your goals.  So last week at All Staff meeting our Senior Pastor Greg Surratt invites us to join him at Starbucks January 2011 and look back at what happened at Seacoast in 2010.  He tells a story that helped us get an idea of what God wants to do in our church this year.  Check out this video to see how it went. (You can fast forward the first two minutes to get to the beginning of his goal talk)

Seacoast All Staff Meeting 1/26/10 from Seacoast Church on Vimeo.

Time for a 2010 Goal Check-up

Wow, we’re now thirty-one days into 2010 and with 334 days remaining it’s a good time to stop and take an early look at our goal progress.  Yesterday I sat down, looked at my goals and asked, “What’s moved forward so far in 2010?”  And in typical fashion, I’ve made great progress with some, fair progress with a few, and no progress with others.   That’s probably true of most people.  So February 1st is a great time to stop and ask yourself a few questions that can get you on track and maybe even provide a little extra boost to your efforts.  Now set aside about an hour, get out your goals and work your way through the following questions.

STEP 1:  Progress Evaluation

 Begin by marking each of your goals:  Green = Met Expectations so far, Yellow = Medium progress so far, or Red = Less than expected progress so far. 

STEP 2: Reassess Each Goal

  • Is this goal still relevant?  (If not dump it)
  • Do I feel this goal is still realistic?  (If not adjust it)
  • Do I have the necessary resources to reach this goal?
  • Is there someone I need to ask to help with this goal?
  • Do I need to change my attitude toward this goal?
  • What obstacles are blocking progress with this goal?
  • What can I learn from this obstacle?
  • Is there an expert in the area of this goal that I can seek advice from?
  • What adjustments do I need to make with this goal?
  • What are the next steps with each goal?
  • What can I do this week to make significant progress with my Red goals?

Check back tomorrow when I post a video of our Senior Pastor Greg Surratt sharing 2010 goals with Seacoast Church staff.  I think you will find the approach unique and interesting.

Alergic to Goals?

Ken Blanchard says, “Goal setting is the beginning of good performance.”  However in every organization I’ve ever worked for there have been people who seem to be allergic to goals.  Goal setting nauseates them.  They dread them, avoid them and once they set them they lose them.  This is a condition I call “Goalitus”, a severe aversion to goals.  But good goal setting is essential for good management.  Is goalitus prevalent in your organization?  You can recognize the symptoms by what people say.  Here’s a list of symptoms and remedies.

  • SYMPTOM #1 – “I was given a goal I don’t think I can achieve.”
  • REMEDY #1 –  Meet with your direct reports one on one to make sure you both agree on their performance goals at the very beginning. 
  • SYMPTOM #2 –  “My goals always seem to change shortly after I write them down.”
  • REMEDY #2 –  Schedule consistent one on ones with each of your direct reports to discuss goal progress no less than every two weeks.
  • SYMPTOM#3 –  “I forget about my goals once I write them.”
  • REMEDY #3 –  Make sure your direct reports post their goals somewhere they will see them every day.
  • SYMPTOM #4 –  “I don’t find goal setting valuable .”
  • REMEDY #4 –   Make sure your direct reports goals are specific and relevant.  Help them write goals that they are excited about.
  • SYMPTOM #5 – “I’m not a goal setter.”
  • REMEDY #5 –  If your direct reports arn’t goal setters get them to think in terms of problem solving.  Have them read Bobb Biehl’s book “Stop Goal Setting” one of the best books I’ve read on goal setting.
  • SYMPTOM #6 –  “My organization or boss makes too much of goal setting.”
  • REMEDY #6 –  Tell them to quit and go work for an organization that doesn’t care about results.  (Okay that last one may be a little strong, but if they continue to show symptoms of goalitius they may not fit the culture of your organizaton)

Which symptoms of goalitus are showing up in your organizaiton?  What do you need to do about it?

Three Simple Steps to Leading, Pt 1

Several years ago I read Ken Blanchard’s classic The One Minute Manager.  When I turned the last page I said to myself, “I want to be the One Minute Manager.”  While I’m still far from it, I strive to be that kind of intentional and relational leader.  What struck me about the book was the simplicity of the three steps in his leadership system. 

STEP 1 One Minute Goal Setting

Goals are essential because they provide the solid platform from which to manage individuals.
Here are a few keys to one minute goal setting…

  • Have each direct report write no more than 5 goals in 250 words or less.  By using 250 words an employee can be specific enough to explain the results they hope to accomplish in a specified time period. 
  • Meet with the direct report and have them share their goals with you.  Once the goals are written the leader then meets with the employee to discuss the goals to seek agreement.  Make necessary changes.  Talking through the goals  in advance allows the leader and the employee to have shared expectations.  When the leader and the employee don’t have shared expectations they will have shared frustrations.
  • Encourage the direct report to place their goals somewhere they will see them every day.
  • Talk about the goals with your direct report on a regular basis.  Don’t wait until performance review time.  I’ve found that most people’s goals change throughout a 4-6 month period of time and sometimes need to be adjusted.  Therefore meeting regularly with an employee to discuss goal progress allows a leader to be flexible and help adjust goals as necessary.
  • Focus on helping people succeed.  When a leader knows his direct reports goals he then can give them the resources, encouragement and help they need to succeed.

Have you established clear and specific performance goals with your direct reports?