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If we just told everyone that they need to be better at what they do, that would be all they need to succeed right?
Wrong. Just telling people what you want them to do is never enough.
In my past life I coached girls soccer (ages 6-10 to be exact) for about 3 years; it taught me a lot about working with others and leading teams. When I think about motivating people, making them better and getting them from point A to B I always get reminded of one instance during one of my kids’ games. We had just let a goal in and a parent screamed at his 8 year old daughter who was playing goalkeeper, “JESSE YOU HAVE TO BETTER AT SAVING THOSE SHOTS!” I thought to myself “Ohhhhh that’s what she needs to do! Wish I’d thought of that.”
It has become an integral part of our management strategy to lay out goals for the Connections team in particular. Getting from point A to B is not always easy and a S.M.A.R.T. goal can significantly improve the chances of getting there successfully. If your production is flopping it could be because of the goals you set, and here’s why:
If you set a goal and your team can’t answer the following then you haven’t been specific:
If you’re not specific you won’t get the results you need:
Unspecific Goal: I need you to make more Connections.
Result: More connections made on Australian and Canadian equestrian websites.
Specific Goal: I need you to make more Connections in the UK men’s fashion market by sending more emails and targeting them specifically in outreach because we have a new client coming on this month.
Result: More connections made with UK men’s fashion websites.
When setting your goals you need to have concrete criteria for measuring progress. It’s not as simple as asking someone to get to point B, you need to give your employees a roadmap of how to do so.
Immeasurable Goal: I want you to be a better connector by pitching to more blogs.
Result: Wavering increase in pitches to blogs.
Measurable Goal: I want you to be a better connector by increasing the number of pitches you make from 10 to 20 blogs each day.
Result: Email pitches sent on a daily basis will significantly increase and the employee will be able to monitor their own progress.
A measurable goal not only gives your employees a road map, it also allows you as a manager to track goal progress and see success.
Setting the bar high is important to motivate and drive success. However, many managers set the bar too high for their employees to reach and the goal then becomes unrealistic and counterproductive. This usually occurs when a manager doesn’t understand production, capacity and scalability OR when he or she is backed into a tight corner with a tough deadline.
Unattainable Goal: Team, collectively I need 50 traffic driver connections live and ready to deliver by the end of the week.
Result: Stress accompanied by failure. Team loses interest in a goal that they will not be able to achieve.
Attainable Goal: Team, by the end of the week I need you to collectively pitch to 50 traffic driver sites.
Result: Team sees the goal as realistic and is motivated to work towards it.
If I set my connections team a goal to “Make a diorama of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart by 4:00pm” it would be Specific, Measurable, Attainable and Time-Bound, but lacks some serious Relevance to what we pay our connectors for.
If your employee can answer yes to these questions you have set them a relevant goal:
If they answer no to any of the above then they will lack the motivation to succeed.
Irrelevant Goal: Make a diorama of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart by 4:00pm.
Result: Probably a not so great diorama and 0 connections built.
Relevant Goal: Find me 10 traffic driver, app related websites by the end of the week.
Result: Your goal makes sense and your team will hit it full force!
Putting an end point on a goal gives your team a clear and finite target to work towards. If you fail to set a timeframe for your goal (by next week, in three months, end of the fiscal year) the commitment is too vague and allows your employees to feel that they can start at any time (often leading to procrastination). Without a deadline there is no urgency.
Untimed Goal: I want you to make $12,000 in sales.
Result: $12,000 in sales is made…in 2015.
Timed Goal: I want you to make $12,000 in sales by the end of the quarter.
Result: Sales person is motivated and can work towards an end point. They are also empowered to set their own micro goals that will help them incrementally meet the overall goal.
Setting a deadline doesn’t mean that your employee will hit it, but it does allow you as a manager to hold your employees accountable for making or missing the deadline.
Goal setting isn’t always easy, there’s a lot of moving parts and even the best of us can’t get it right every time. It’s important to constantly assess and reassess the goals you set to make sure they are S.M.A.R.T and that they are leading your team in the right direction. If they’re not working then don’t panic. Pinpoint where your goals are going wrong, adjust the goal and keep going.