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Creating Clarity in Your Business Goals to Rally Your Team

Everyone wants to set business goals that help drive their business forward. To that end, hardworking entrepreneurs earnestly investigate goal-setting techniques. The problem is, though, that they’re swimming in a never-ending sea of information. Just enter “business goals” into Google, and you’ll see almost 4 billion results. How can you cut through the noise and learn how to set clear goals? 

It may sound funny, but you need to start with the goal of goal setting. Upon investigation you’ll see that the purpose of goal setting is relatively simple: get your team from point A to point B, motivate them, and measure the results. As a business owner, you want to accomplish specific tasks that improve your business. This understanding can help you avoid vague business goals and instead create goals that are actionable and contain specifics. For example, a vague goal might be to improve marketing performance. A specific goal would be to improve marketing qualified leads by 25% by targeting two buyer personas in your marketing campaign. 

In addition, you need to make sure that your goals are clear. An alarming 61% of employees do not understand their company’s mission. How can employees who don’t understand what their company wants to achieve effectively contribute to its long-term success? They can’t. Creating clarity in your business goals is about more than crafting goals that are easily understood; it requires business leaders to communicate why those goals are there in the first place. We’ll look at three ways you can clarify your business goals internally and equip your employees to reach them.

Open, Honest Communication

“Accountability without inspiration is like a prison sentence.” – Bill Baren

Tools like SMART goals were created to help people set goals that are easily understood and realistic. While creating goals like these is important, it’s only half the battle. In Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk Start With Why, he states that people don’t buy what you do, but why you do it. The same principle applies when trying to get internal buy-in. 

In fact, as Bill Baren eloquently puts it, if you don’t inspire your employees with the motivation behind your goals, you could be trapping them in a figurative prison. Because they don’t understand why those goals are there, employees view the goals as more added pressure, restricting, and prison-like. The solution is open and honest communication of the purpose of these new goals. Unfortunately, this is hard to get right. 

In the HBR article The Right Way to Rally Your Troops, Judith Glaser shares how IBM’s CEO used direct, honest communication to motivate her employees. She was frank and honest with them but did so without pointing fingers or being demoralizing. Employees need to understand their company’s situation without feeling the need to resist or run. Well-executed communication will help inspire employees to work for the business’s high-level goals. Apart from communication, the way you organize your goals can promote clarity and help your team prioritize. 

Compartmentalize™ Your Goals With EOS®

Notebook with goal organizer displayed.

Clarifying your business goals requires you to identify which activities will drive your business forward and create a roadmap for getting there. EOS® (entrepreneurial operating system®) has a great system for helping you do this. It has you put jobs into four main compartments: goals, rocks, to-dos, and issues. What are they and how can they help? 

  • Goals. These are your objectives for the year. After identifying these goals, your team can work backward to determine the short-term steps needed to reach larger initiatives.
  • Rocks. These are three-month goals that will enable your business to reach its one-year objectives. EOS® recommends that you set 3-7 rocks as less won’t provide enough direction and more will likely be too hard for your team to accomplish. 
  • To-dos. These are set on a weekly basis and are objectives you must finish within the next 7 days. To-dos help you build up to your quarterly rocks and are reviewed weekly during team meetings. 
  • Issues. These are long-term and short-term problems, ideas, and opportunities. The long-term issues are things that cannot be solved within that quarter, while the short-term issues can. 

Compartmentalizing™ your goals helps improve accountability by breaking them up into assignable chunks. It also helps your team visualize the roadmap for achieving long-term goals. Organizing goals in this way helps your team see what’s most important right now. Once you set goals that are clear and actionable, it’s time to let your people work. 

Don’t Block Employees From Reaching Business Goals

One reason companies fail to meet their goals is that they have competing goals or workflows that block their team. For example, a company may have goals regarding both profit and customer experience. While attempting to provide the very best customer experience, employees may take actions that reduce profit margins, at least in the short-term. This forces your team to decide which goal will take precedence. 

Which of these goals will contribute more to the long-term health of the company? How will managers respond to employees prioritizing customer experience over immediate profits? When there is a lack of clarity on how important certain goals are, there will be inconsistency. Managers will be unable to reach either goal. To solve this, it’s important to empower your team. 

You need to articulate what’s most important for your company and then give employees the power to act on those values. A good example of this is the Zappos employee who flew to a customer’s house to hand-deliver thousands of dollars worth of jewelry that the customer mistakenly sent to the company. This definitely wasn’t profitable for Zappos, but think about how many more people now care about their brand. While you may not fly out employees to deliver lost goods, setting clear goals and being vocal about their priority will help you rally your team. 

Do you want to create clarity around your company’s vision and goals? Let’s grab coffee (or virtual coffee) and talk about your business goals.