6 Super Effective Team Goal Setting Activities That Actually Work
Estimated reading time: 31 minute(s)
6 Super Effective Team Goal Setting Activities That Actually Work
You may have tried team goal setting activities before…but not following through with them and seeing them to completion.
It’s like driving somewhere new while following your GPS, only to have a passenger telling you to go another way because it’s ‘faster’ and they’ve gone there before. When you take their lead and abandon your trusty GPS, it ends up taking longer to get to your destination – or worse, you get lost.
In these situations we can simply turn our navigation back on and find our way again, reaching our destination with only a minor hiccup. However, in business it can be more costly.
When it comes to company’s and the teams within, veering off the set path can become detrimental to the entire project, and there’s often no quick way to redirect when you realize the mistake. This not only sets you back but also affects your team’s progress as a whole.
Why Is Team Goal Setting Important?
Team goals are the road map that leads the project to success. The pathway is created intentionally, optimized for higher rates of success, and often aimed for the most efficient route. When you deviate from that plan or aren’t provided concrete directions, the end goal can fall out of sight pretty quickly.
In fact, in a Harvard survey, they found that 30% of managers labelled failure to coordinate as the single greatest challenge they face when executing the company’s strategy.
Team goal setting is also a great way to encourage members to develop new working habits. By working closely with other members, they will be exposed to alternative skillsets, creating an atmosphere that not only achieves the goal but also builds stronger employees for future projects.
Benefits Of Team Goal Setting
Stronger employees aren’t the only benefit of team goal setting. Building a cohesive set of team goals can have a range of benefits affecting the entire workplace as a whole.
Some of these benefits include:
- A well-defined goal that supports the values of the company, providing the team with a collective understanding of the final product.
- Clearly defined roles and responsibilities, allowing members to work to their strengths and focus on their individual expectations.
- Natural occurrence of teamwork and team success while each member is driven by a common goal.
- Higher levels of effort, especially as the project gets closer to its completion date.
- The means to measure success throughout the project lifetime, allowing for teams to regroup and redesign their action plan as needed.
- Higher rates of project completion supported by a solid foundation of expectations created by the team as a whole.
How To Begin Setting Team Goals
When you first begin working with your team to set specific goals, there are a few aspects to keep in mind.
Many projects are made up of a series of smaller objectives that are aligned in a way to build upon one another to achieve the final goal. Work with your team to identify the smaller steps needed within your action plan, and incorporate them as milestones to both keep your team on track, and measure success over the lifetime of the project.
Write it down
The act of physically writing down goals has been proven to increase their rate of success, and can also help members align themselves with the objective, serving as a great motivator.
Make it measurable
When working towards any goal, it is essential to implement a way to measure the success of the team at various stages of the project. One of the best ways to do this is to assign specific milestones throughout the project at regular intervals. If you’re finding your team is not meeting the milestones assigned, evaluate why and readjust your plan accordingly.
6 Team Goal Setting Activities
There are a number of ways to achieve success through team goal setting. The one you choose to implement in your team will vary depending on the goal you are working towards and the approach your team will find the most success with.
1. Set SMART Goals
Start by having each individual in the group complete a SMART project goal and objective outline. Come together as a team to complete these outlines, allowing each one to be perfectly aligned with the rest of the team members, ensuring a well-rounded action plan.
Your outline should include:
- The Project Name
- The date of creation
- The end goal
- The number of milestones necessary for success, each broken down using the SMART process (see below)
The SMART process is as follows:
Specific: Be very clear on what the objective is. What is your role? Why is it important to the team? How does it help you achieve the objective?
Measurable: The metrics you and the team have decided to use to measure your success. This could include the percentage of work completed, number of projects completed, quality of final products, etc. This will change depending on the goal and must be understood by each member of the team.
Achievable: What skills and tools are needed to meet this objective? Do you have them or have access to them? Consider this while designing your team and ensure your team’s individual proficiencies align with the necessary expertise required to successfully achieve the goal.
Relevant: Does this objective fit with the overall end goal? How?
Time-Bound: What is the final deadline for this objective to be completed?
2. Plan For Project Barriers
For this activity, you’ll be looking at the goal from a broader perspective that focuses on planning your approach to potential barriers and planning success around them.
- First, discuss and agree on the goal with your team.
- Then, create an action plan that clearly labels each member’s roles and responsibilities in a way that is tailored to the unique talents they bring to the team.
- Next, create a list of any tools and resources you may need, including which ones you currently have access to.
- Then, list out each benefit of achieving the goal. Brainstorm why the goal is important to achieve, and how it supports the company values. This could be as simple as: “we want to raise our sales 15% this quarter to increase company profits and boost stakeholder value.”
- Finally, plan for any barriers that may arise during the project life cycle. What makes this goal difficult to achieve? For each barrier, create a clear action plan for overcoming it. For example: “if our sales team is struggling to close sales with new customers, we will implement a sales seminar to support their growth.”
3. Make Goals Challenging But Achievable
Research completed by Edward Locke, a leader in goal setting, discovered specific goals that were not overly challenging, while still managing to push individuals, led to higher performance over 90% of the time.
When you create an action plan for your team to achieve the desired goal, it is beneficial to encourage growth within the team by forming objectives that will be challenging in ways that still allow them to still be achieved if the plan is followed.
Allowing for goals to naturally progress in the difficulty of their achievement will naturally strengthen the team while providing them with the reward of meeting the goal successfully each time.
4. Define Company Goals
For employees to achieve success within their company and align themselves and future projects with company values, these goals must be defined accurately and clearly.
This is more than a mission statement that has been developed over time. These goals are the foundation on which each employee will base their professional goals, and will serve as the guiding force for all company projects. For teams to thrive and find continued success, they must have a clear understanding of the goals of the company.
Implementing a space where these company-wide goals can be shared and accessed, is a great way to help your employees find success with each project they complete. For some companies, this can take the form of goals being shared through company handbooks and training, or company practices that insist on a clear explanation of how a new project relates to the company goals as a whole. For others (often smaller companies) it could be something like having a visual representation of these goals throughout the workplace.
5. Build Emotional Connections To Team Goals
Emotional connections have been shown to create higher productivity and success levels throughout the workplace. When an employee is emotionally aligned with the company, they begin viewing the success of the company as their own and will treat it with a higher level of respect and work harder to make an impact within it.
When you build a team that identifies with the end goal, you’re creating an atmosphere where each member is committed to the project on a level that goes deeper than a paycheck. They will aim higher and achieve greater rates of success than teams that lack an attachment to the project or company.
6. Consider Similar Goals When Establishing A Team
This pairs with the importance of emotional connection to team goals. Ensuring a team holds similar goals, will help members work more cohesively, while also developing a shared interest in professional development, benefitting both individual projects and group projects in the future.
When your team is made up of people who understand one another and are working towards similar goals, there is a natural connection that forms and can aid in all parties learning from one another and helping each other find higher rates of success.
Make These Goal Setting Activities Even More Powerful!
While these team goal-setting activities can have an impressive impact on your team on their own, there are a few ways you can enhance them to drive performance up even higher, and find greater success throughout the workplace as a whole.
Implement incentives for success
Everyone loves rewards, and when you add them into the workplace, you can add a secondary level of encouragement for your teams to work hard and meet their goals effectively and efficiently!
You can create a “team of the month” and pair it with a dinner on the company, or have a big reward at the end of the year for the highest performing team. These incentives are great for rewarding the hard work of your teams, while also giving them something extra to work for.
This concept may seem simple (and it is!) but it can be incredibly effective to simply recognize and praise your team’s hard work. When people feel valued, they have a higher level of pride in their work and will often aim to achieve harder goals.
Consider individuals apart from the team as a whole
By evaluating the team not only as one unit but also breaking it down into each individual that makes it up, you’ll be able to assess each member’s strengths and weaknesses, allowing for a more intuitive pairing of teams for future projects.
At some time or another, we’ve all experienced being in a team and having one or two members that don’t pull their weight, leaving extra work piling up on the other members. When you break a team down into individuals, you can catch this behavior and correct it. You can adjust accordingly and hold each member accountable for their share of the work, and offer greater recognition for those who deserve it, increasing employee morale and validating their hard work.
Assessing individuals of the team also allows you to redesign your plan for individuals that need support in other areas, allowing for natural learning opportunities and success to be had by all.
In conclusion, when both company and project goals are defined thoroughly and team members have been given the opportunity to go through the process of forming a clear direction of approach, higher rates of success will develop. By providing your team with the tools and resources needed to meet goals and working alongside them to create an individualized action plan, each member will feel involved, heard, and develop a closer connection with the project, prompting them to meet challenges and exceed expectations.