Set Achievable Goals

Set achievable goalsSetting achievable goals is a regular part of your Vital Factor team meetings. It’s a core discipline that requires both practice and commitment. But how do you know a goal you’re setting is “achievable”? A good rule of thumb is to be 80% confident that the goal can be accomplished. If you’re not that confident in its potential success rate, then that goal is really a “wish,” and wishes, while nice, can water down the entire Vital Factors process and negatively impact morale and results. On the flip side, if your goals tend to always be 100% achievable, then they’re too easy! Setting soft goals can create a complacent team culture. So before you call upon everyone to own and embrace a new goal, make sure it’s a solid challenge that’s achievable. Making this quick, simple assessment is essential to effective goal setting and will lead to more meaningful results and success.

Drilling down, here’s a closer look at the three types of goals that organizations tend to set. Get familiar with these so you can spot and address them as they arise in your Vital Factor team discussions.

The Sandbag Goal. A great example of this sort of goal is someone who comes to the meeting, states he has met the goal of 100 sales, yet already had 75 sales “in the bag” when the goal was first set. That’s sandbagging. It’s a goal that’s already been made, so there’s no healthy “stretch” in it. And it’s an indicator that the expectations of the goal should be higher—more like 150 sales vs. 100.

The Wish Goal. Again, this is the goal that’s totally unrealistic for your team members. And since there’s no magic genie around to help them make the goal, they feel defeated from the get-go. With wish goals, no one can ever win. They realize: What’s the point in trying? After all, they already know they will always lose.

The Stretch Goal. When you stretch yourself you grow—and that’s what you want your team member to do when she is working toward accomplishing a goal. Realistic and achievable, the stretch goal is challenging yet optimistic in nature, giving that individual a sense of trust that, with effort and hard work, she has a darn good chance of meeting if not exceeding that established and agreed-upon goal. As well, it sends the message that you have genuine confidence that she can actually succeed more than she has been—but to a degree that’s still doable and fair.

Which of these three goals is the most common in your organization—and what type of action have you taken?

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