No, not the football or rugby kind of goals – but we all need something to aim for and usually there will be some difficulty in achieving it, as well as great excitement when we do.

I’ve found that most managers have clear goals and know what they are aiming to do – the trick is to make sure that your team is also committed to those goals and understands how to achieve them.

We can all be guilty of thinking that others are on our wavelength and should know how we want them to work towards the goals we’ve set.

In fact, we always need to spell out exactly what we’re thinking and why we are doing something – this will help everyone on the team to understand the importance and context of the task. If possible, consult with the team on how to achieve the goal and welcome input on potential problems or reasons the goal might not work the way you thought it would.

This is where SMART objectives come in – they spell out how to reach the goal. Without SMART objectives, goals can often become good intentions that never materialise. Discussing the following questions with your team can ensure that you set appropriate objectives for everyone to work towards.

Specific           What exactly needs to be done?
Measurable     How will you know it’s done?
Achievable      Can it be done?
Realistic          How will it be done?
Timebound     When will it be done?

If the goal is a long term one, make sure that you celebrate milestones, acknowledge effort, and keep everyone up to date on progress towards it. Keep listening to concerns and ideas – adjust the goal if necessary.

Your team will appreciate being part of the process and you will reach the goal with the added bonus of improved morale and productivity – a win-win!