4 Common Mistakes Managers Make When Goal Setting (and 3 ways to fix it)

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closeup of a notebook with a blank list of goals and a cup of coffee on a white wooden table Goal setting is not a foreign concept of any business owner, manager, or person in a leadership position at any company. For every team, it’s understood that certain milestones must be reached by a certain date, whether it’s an increase in sales, opening a number of new locations, or obtaining a certain profit. When these milestones are not met, managers start to wonder what happened and what they have to change in order to ensure that goals are accomplished the next time they’re set.

At the beginning of this year, Blanchard Leaderchat, a “forum to discuss leadership and management issues”, published an article entitled 4 Common Mistakes Managers Make When Goal Setting (and 3 ways to fix it), which gives a detailed look at the factors that can cause goals to be missed, as well as advice on how they can be successfully met in the future. The mistakes and fixes outlined in the article come from performance expert John Hester, who wrote them in a contribution to the January issue of Ignite!, a newsletter offered by the Ken Blanchard Companies.

Let’s start by taking a look at one of the reasons they list on why goals are not met:

“Setting too many goals. When employees have too many goals they can easily lose track of what is important and spend time on the ones they “want” to do or that are easier to accomplish whether or not they are the highest priority.”

This is probably a very common one. Everyone has been in a situation where they’ve put too much on their plate at one time or another, whether it’s because they were concerned about meeting everyone’s expectations or were not able to anticipate the full scope of what they were taking on. It happens, especially to those in a management position, and it’s an understandable conundrum, but one that can lead to overworking and under-delivering if it happens too often. It’s important to make sure you’re only taking on as much as you can at once without straining yourself or your company’s resources; while it may seem like you’re putting yourself in the good graces of your clients by saying, “Yes, no problem”, to every request they make, it could lead to problems down the line if you’re not able to get it all done. The bottom line: be sure to manage your clients’ expectations when you’re setting your goals.

Now for a look at one of the solutions the article offers:

“Approach goal-setting as a partnership. Recognize that performance planning is not something that you should do alone. This is something to be done in partnership with your team member. It’s a collaborative process. So the manager needs to know what the employee’s key areas of responsibility are, what is expected in the role, and what they want to see in terms of performance. The key is to have that discussion with the employee.”

The article makes a key point here. Collaboration is one of the most important factors when you’re striving to set goals as a team. Without it, you run the risk of nobody being 100% sure of what their duties are, what’s expected of them and what overall role they’re playing in the process, and this confusion can lead to a breakdown in communications before they’ve even started, which is absolute poison for any project, no matter what the size and scope. This practice should also be reflected with your clients, and goes back to managing their expectations. Keeping in touch with everyone involved in the project will help it run smoothly and is a key element in ensuring that things don’t fall apart halfway through, which often leads to panic mode as all the major players realize that the deadline won’t be met because of a lack of communication throughout.

Whether you’ve got a few small goals or a whole list of major milestones you’d like to meet, we strongly recommend giving this article a read, as it offers a solid look at how you can effectively meet the goals you set for your business and that of your clients.

What are your thoughts? Do you have a specific process for ensuring that you meet your goals? Did you find the tips in this article helpful? Your thoughts and comments are always welcome, so let us know!

Copyright: nito500 / 123RF Stock Photo

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Juliet Aurora

About the Author:

Juliet Aurora is the President and CEO of AIS Solutions. She has been in the Accounting and Finance space for more years than she will ever admit. When she isn’t acting as the Sensei for her team of Bookkeeper Kninjas, you will find her working tirelessly to advocate the accreditation of bookkeeping in Canada. Her vision is for AIS Solutions to become the standard against which all other bookkeepers and bookkeeping firms are measured. Juliet can be contacted by email or by calling 1 888 575 5385.

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