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With few employees keyed into their organisation’s vision – research by Rungway found that more than half of employees can’t recite the vision itself and 49% can’t recite the values – it’s clear that there is a huge gap in employees’ understanding of their impact at work. If you don’t know what you’re working towards, how can you do your job to your best ability?
How are you even motivated to? Little grasp among individuals of their role in achieving the company’s business strategies can lead to chronic disengagement, with a resultant lowering of morale, productivity and profitability.
To really motivate and engage a workforce, key needs must be met. Your people must know what is expected of them, they must have what they need to do their job and it is imperative that they feel that they matter. Do their opinions seem to count? Do they have the opportunity to feel like they are making progress? Do they feel anyone at work cares about them? Are they encouraged and recognised? Are they given opportunities to give and receive feedback, to learn and to develop?
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
The mere presence of a goal does not dig up the willpower or motivation to see it through. We all know that. Have you ever asked yourself why your goal failed? Chances are you had little or no say in devising it – “Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember; involve me and I will understand.” (Confucius) – and hence were less motivated to achieve it. It also, probably, wasn’t very SMART.
“[…] vision without systems thinking ends up painting lovely pictures of the future with no deep understanding of the forces that must be mastered to move from here to there.”
Peter M. Senge, The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization
SMART goals look forward but follow certain rules, (“systems thinking”), to up the chances of success. The acronym has several slightly different variations depending on what you’re using it for, for example:
As well as setting them yourself, involving your people and helping them to set their own is good practice for everyone involved. It’s important to gather meaningful goals in both the hard and soft skills arenas, i.e. both the quantifiables (measurable skills and targets) as well as goals that pay attention to communication, conflict management and interpersonal skills, for example. Goals should also be trackable back to team and/or organisational values; they have to make sense and be meaningful to the individual.
Goal-setting and feedback
In the last six months, have your employees spoken with someone about their progress? As well as helping your people achieve results, clever goal-setting also provides the perfect opportunity for regular and ongoing feedback. Well-defined, measurable, obtainable goals, where the right people are held to account and responsibilities are discussed and agreed upon provide a clear and simple format to follow when delivering feedback:
- Start with a brief review of past performance. Get the individual to identify what it was about their working style – (their strengths and possible weaknesses) – that produced these results. Using their Insights Discovery personal profile to help identify these.
- Discuss the future. How can the individual utilise their working style to be more productive and better achieve goals set? Where might they need more support? The ‘Motivating Me’ section of an individual’s Insights Discovery Personal Profile can be used to open up a discussion around what changes can be made to aid both contentment and achievement at work. Build the most important pointers into the framework for future tasks and projects.
Shut the office door for a minute. What about you? How would you like to see your life?
Experts in personal development, such as Covey, Bennis and Senge have demonstrated how vital it is to have your own personal vision. Working out a compelling vision will inspire you to realise your best self and motivate you to effectively meet goals to achieve it… Think of it as your own personal mission, vision and values exercise.
Senge defines vision as what you want to create of yourself and the world around you. Feeling more fulfilled and purpose-driven in yourself can also positively influence your perception of your career and how you approach your day-to-day workload. Access our handy worksheet to start the process below.
Why your team should be setting goals
Goal setting is an important practice. Done right, it holds individuals and teams accountable to mutually agreed actions, pinpoints focus, promotes prioritisation, supports feedback and drives both productivity and personal growth. Team members who understand and buy-in to what they are working towards, (on both immediate and larger scales), feel like they are part of something more important and bigger than they could ever achieve by themselves. Collective goal setting brings teams together.
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