There’s clear value in aligning goals at the individual, team, and organizational levels. Priorities are clarified, employees get a sense of how their contributions are building toward higher goals, and everyone feels more connected and pushing in the same direction.
It’s not difficult to align goals, but organizations must be clear and intentional if the goals are to have their intended impact. Communication is key, and employees must get a clear understanding of how their work is benefitting the team and organization.
Here are our top tips for aligning goals across your organization.
It all starts at the top.
For everyone to comprehend their role, leadership and executives must give them the map:
- The company vision and mission inform the strategy, which in turn influences company goals.
- Company goals should paint a picture of what the company wants to achieve in the immediate future.
- Priorities should be clearly illustrated so managers and employees know what types of goals they should be setting.
Have teams and individuals build off of that.
Now that the road map has been set, individual and team goals can be set that align with the company goals. Keep these considerations in mind as individual and team goals are being formed:
- Goals tend to be annual, but they don’t have to be. We prefer shorter goal periods, such as quarterly benchmarks, to keep goals agile. Things are going to change during the year. Employees will likely be added and removed. The economy could shift. Maybe after two months, it appears the original goals aren’t hitting the mark. Setting quarterly goals allows you to make changes on the fly and keep realistic expectations.
- Rather than simply assigning goals to a team or individual, start with a discussion. This gives both parties a clear understanding of the goal and the reasoning behind it while giving the individual a greater sense of ownership. The employee’s benefit could shape the goals as well.
- Clearly communicate where time and effort should be focused. Employees typically have several items on their agendas each day. The better you align goals, the better they can prioritize.
- Encourage goal transparency so all employees and teams understand how their goals are playing into the organization’s benchmarks. This creates a better understanding of the “big picture” and engenders teamwork.