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Employee Goals and Organizational Results

How Employee Goals Should Help Achieve Organizational Results

Have you ever sat in a meeting and silently wondered why you were asked to be there?  

To know “why we are here,” we need goals. Goals guide our actions, projects, meetings, motivation, and thinking. Goals do not provide a game plan, but they inform it.

However, goals do not happen in a vacuum. They are tied to a bigger picture, creating alignment throughout the organization. 

As an organization’s mission, vision, and strategies are communicated, these cascade into departmental, team, and individual goals and objectives. They create a thread that connects the entire organization together as a unified team.

The Organization’s Mission and Vision Must Relate to Individual Goals

Ideally, the organization has developed goals based on the deeper ‘why are we here’ question. 

What is an organizational mission? A mission is a statement of our intended action.  A mission tells us what we plan to do. 

A mission could be: 

  • To develop an astronaut program 
  • To create a spacecraft capable of reaching our moon
  • To find a better way to teach math
  • To invent a computer simple enough for anyone to use on their own.
  • To create a vaccine that can eliminate the flu

However, before we craft our mission, we must begin with a vision: what is it that we see as possible someday out in the future? 

A vision could be: 

  • To put a woman on the moon
  • To put a personal computer in every home
  • To create a world free of disease
  • To find a planet that supports life as we know it on Earth
  • To create a criminal justice system that transforms people’s lives 

Visions are grand, provocative, engaging ideas that get us thinking about all the projects we will need to coordinate if we are ever to realize them. When an organization has a clear mission and vision, it becomes easier to help individuals within the organization create goals supporting their development and the organization’s success.

Goals Must Align with the Mission and Vision

Organizational Vision and Individual Goals

Vision

A vision is what we believe is possible, someday, out in the future. Talking robots and flying cars maybe?

Organizational Mission and Individual Goals

Mission

A mission is what we do to make the vision a reality. What are the big steps we take everyday?

individual goals and the organization

Goals

A goal is a single component of our mission intended to propel us in that direction.

When goals are large, we often need specific objectives that feed into accomplishing a single goal.  

For all this to work, organizations need alignment

A goal could be to find and promote a way to simplify long-division mathematics.

  • Objective One: Do research on different approaches
  • Objective Two: Test different approaches in schools
  • Objective Three: Hold focus groups to learn student’s ease of learning
  • Objective Four: Publish findings in journal  articles

Understanding alignment from this definition is simple! Each component feeds up into the next. Feeding into the next bigger thing up the line is the “correct or appropriate position.”  

  • Our objectives support the accomplishment of our goals
  • Goals support the fulfillment of our mission
  • The mission supports the eventual realization of a vision 

Alignment gets tricky as organizations become large if protocols are not used. The grand, overarching vision is what every objective should fit into. That is what drives alignment. 

When a first-line supervisor can point to goals and objectives developed by their team and explain how these fit into the organization’s mission and vision, the organization is truly aligned. 

For this to happen, there must be a cascading process of incorporating the organization’s vision and mission into each business line’s mission/vision, then each department’s mission/vision, and then each team’s mission/vision. The goals and objectives of each specific business unit will roll into the organization’s overall vision, which helps the organization satisfy its overall goals. Everyone uses the same playbook, but each unit has its own responsibility. 

Inviting employees into a goal-setting process is a powerful engagement tool. Unfortunately, it often doesn’t happen this way.

A common example is an upline manager who sits down with their direct report at the end of the first year on the job and says, “You’ve been with us for a year. You’ve been doing a great job and learned a lot. I would like your goal next year to be to increase the number of sales you close by 50%.”

While the employee might be pleased with the positive feedback, they may also be taken aback by this significant increase in deliverables! The employee could worry that they could fail. 

The manager does not ask for any input on what the employee needs, feels good about, or what is most challenging. Most importantly, they are not asked what they think is a realistic goal for the coming year. 

Managers who approach their teams as peers working collectively to achieve team and departmental goals tend to be more supportive of each other.  They are more tuned into coaching and mentoring needs that will support success. Employees are less likely to hide challenges that can sabotage their success because they feel they are in this together with their manager.

The Vital Learning course Developing Performance Standards and Goals provides a framework for supervisors and employees to discuss and negotiate goals. 

Inviting an employee into this process is foreign to some new leaders, who feel it is their job to dictate the direction. In this course, supervisors explore why collaboration is important and how much more a team member will be engaged and committed to these goals if they are part of the process. They work together to create SMART goals and develop benchmarks for successfully realizing them. 

Develop Performance Standards and Goals Coursework

Performance Management begins with a plan.

On June 4th, 2024, we will provide a demo experience for the Vital Learning course titled Developing Performance Standards and Goals. During this demo, you will experience some learning activities used with managers and supervisors and walk away with a clear idea of how the tools support supervisors in transferring the learning back to their job.