Setting motivating goals and targets

September 15th, 2019

Setting motivating goals and targets is not as easy as it seems. Often what seems like the right thing to do ends up actually demotivating the team. Here are some solutions to common pitfalls:

Copying corporate targets?

Sometimes targets are assigned because they are corporate or organisational targets, with no thought as to whether the target is achievable. If the corporate target is unavoidable, select an achievable improvement target as an interim step. The quickest way to demotivate a team is to highlight how far short of the corporate target their current performance is.

Target too easy?

If your team’s performance meets or exceeds the target every month, you may have set too easy a target. Remember improvement is the name of the game. If your team is already at the required standard, consider moving the target. Or, alternatively measure something else that needs improving.

Target date too soon?

Often teams aim for too rapid an improvement. It’s almost seems that once they’ve written it down, an improved performance will magically occur. Problem solving can be a tricky and time-consuming business. Be realistic about the amount of time your team can spend on solving the problems to improve their performance. Agree a more realistic target date.

No target date ?

It is often said that a goal without a date is just a dream, but but in reality it is more like a nightmare. There is recognition that something needs to be improved but without the drive and commitment to achieve it. A target date is crucial to provide momentum and a focus for commitment to the goal.

Plucking a target out of thin air?

The improvement target should not just be plucked out of the air. Best practice teams know what performance level they are starting from and their expected rate of improvement. They will also have identified specific improvements and know how much each implementation will take them towards their target.

“Be careful what you wish for…….”. 

Performance targets drive people’s behaviour, (after all that’s why we set them!). So ensure that the targets you set drive the right type of behaviours in your team. Think about alignment to your company, and /or team values, and look out for possible unintended and detrimental consequences of your goals.

Carefully selected goals and targets play a key role in motivating, aligning and focusing your team. If you need help in this or any other area of continuous improvement, contact us at CDI London.

Adam Jones, CDI London Associate Coach