Every team needs to know where they are going. Goals can provide that direction. But without a plan to reach them, goals are nothing but optimistic dreams. A well thought out plan will provide clarity and guidance as you strive to reach your goals. Here are six steps to accomplish your present and future goals:
1. Clarify the goal.
If a goal is too general, you will never really know when you have really reached the goal. It becomes subjective. Develop goals that are specific and quantifiable. Then, you can determine the distance between your present and desired state and know when you have achieved success.
2. Map out all actions needed to achieve the goal.
The achievement of a goal typically requires the completion of several action items. Take time to document all necessary action items, and place them in sequential order. This planning helps answer the question, “What do we need to do next?”, while endeavoring to reach the goal.
3. Group action items into phases.
Phases give you a natural point to reflect and celebrate progress. Celebrating milestones provides continued motivation to achieve the next step and realize that there is real movement taking place.
4. Assign responsibility for action items.
Who does what? Do not assume that your team automatically recognizes their responsibilities. Make sure that everyone knows his or her role in achieving the goal.
5. Create deadlines.
Deadlines create urgency. Without a deadline, you run the risk of seeing motivation slowly diminish. Your goal needs a deadline. It will be the staring point from which you determine when actions items need to be completed.
6. Hold everyone accountable for his or her part.
Accountability is not about punishment. The motivation behind accountability should be the advancement of the individual and the organization. Properly motivated accountability will encourage everyone to play his or her part in reaching the goal.
Teams do not accidentally achieve goals. Goals are reached through well-executed plans. As you lay out the goals for you team, give ample attention to the plan that will get you there. It is a worthy investment of your time.