Whats the point of setting goals? We often make them, only to quickly abandon them, or forget about them entirelyjust think about your last New Years Resolution.
No matter your past failures, goals are crucial to defining and measuring success. In businesses, they can motivate your workforce, streamline the implementation of strategy, and bring about significant financial gains.
Performance management is a branch of human resource management that concerns itself with results-oriented behaviors in both people and organizations. Proper performance management practices in businesses can be the difference between massive profits and total bankruptcy.
If you want people to be successful, you need to give them targets; You cant hit a bulls-eye without a dartboard, and you cant score a touchdown without an endzone. You also need to equip them to succeed; You wont hit that dartboard unless you have darts, and its impossible to play football without a pigskin. Thats why setting and actively pursuing goals is so important.
Big-picture goals often sound impressive, but they dont help with day-to-day achievements. Nobody wakes up, decides they want to President, and then goes to bed that night in the White House. The success of a marketing campaign that massive takes years to be determined.
Short-term goals offer much more manageable tasks, small victories, and reachable milestones. This is why its important to build a culture thats centered around goal-setting. Many companies encourage their staff to track daily tasks and/or weekly sprints. What will I get done today? What are we doing this week?
Good goals are complimented by effective feedback. New technologies make it easy to give credit where its due, or to discretely offer suggestions for improvement.
Managers should encourage this process at every step of the way. Continual feedback is always better than annual surprises. In a marketing setting, this can be as simple as passing along compliments from a client, or it can be much more complicated, like offering financial bonuses for meeting challenging sales targets.
No matter your approach, its wise to cap it off with a formal performance review system. Regular performance appraisals give you an opportunity to discuss growth, reconsider compensation, and generally clear the air.
Performance reviews are also a great time to talk about career ambitions. Long-term career-oriented goals are valuable motivators for employees, and can help fill an organizational need by clarifying your companys succession and replacement planning strategies.
Of course, since the success or failure of any marketing campaign can never be put squarely on the shoulders of one person, it also make sense to consider performance management from a team perspective. What do we want to accomplish? What can only be done as a group? How will we know weve succeeded?
Tying your goals to quantifiable outcomes is an easy way to set a target. How many leads should we get? How much revenue do we want? How quickly can this project be completed?
At the same time, wise managers dont forget about harder-to-measure outcomes, and there are a number of new survey technologies that can help bridge the gap. Not sure how to tell if your goal of client satisfaction, or employee engagement has been met? Just ask!
Simple questions like Would you use our product again (1=never, 5=definitely) or Are you eager to go to work in the morning (1=never, 5=always) will always get an honest answer if you can guarantee survey anonymity. Since hand-writing is easily recognizable, computers are the best way to approach this, and there are plenty of products on the market that can help with it.
So next time youre asked to set goals, dont just go through the motions. Take a few moments to think about what youre really trying to accomplish. And then get out there and do it!
About the Author
Paul Baribeau manages content for TribeHR. TribeHR’s HR software helps small and mid-sized businesses build a culture of success.