Executive Coaching Blog
Team goals – why having common goals is important
Your team needs common goals. Otherwise it becomes a group of individuals with their own agenda.
Being a manager requires a lot of soft skills as you need to make sure that your team is comfortable with the goals that you are setting for each member individually. It is great if you could separate tasks for every person and have the project moving forward regardless of any personal delay. This would also allow you to monitor who is underperforming and control problems and situations as they happen.
But working by the piece is not the best practice – it can be a positive experience for small projects but not in the real-life environment. You need to have a better working strategy and make sure that each and every one on the team is focused on achieving results. Separating tasks individually means you are setting personal goals – if they meet them, then they are not responsible for any lack of result in another field. This is why setting a common goal for your team is of high importance.
Common goals is what separates a high performing team from a bad project experience. You need to make sure no man is an island or your project might fail. Common goals are important not only because they develop creativity and innovation but because they bring people together and encourage them to communicate problems and results. This allows for a much earlier and faster recognition of problems in the project development.
Here are some tips:
1. Group co-dependent goals – Marketing and Sales should work separately and together. They have their own agenda but the goal is common – selling the best way possible using all resources and knowledge available. You know that achieving some goals requires tasks to be completed successfully by more than one department or team member. Those are the smaller common goals that you need to set for your team. This would mean in addition no more name calling on who is responsible for a delay or a project failure. If two or three team members know that they have to work together or they results would not be accepted as a success, they would also feel more motivated to control and communicate with their colleagues.
2. Set milestones – Milestones are practically team goals. Those are the steps that need to be finished by a certain date and this is the way you track results. Set personal and common milestones that would help your team members to keep on track and would allow them the flexibility to work together as much as needed.
3. Set clear common goal expectations – The biggest and most important common goal for a team is to finish the project successfully. But this shouldn’t be the only goal. Think of additional motivations – maybe a day off for everyone, a team building experience, a bigger project, company-wide recognition. There are a lot of things that can bring people together and focus them on results and not on personal comfort. Because personal comfort is what a lot of team members would like to have – knowing they finish their direct tasks and are not responsible for the project execution any further than that.
4. Hold goal tracking meetings – These would be a great opportunity to identify problems, to find solutions and just to feel better as a group. Discussions should be focused on the goal, not on the project itself. Talk about the problems that you have met, what each one of you could do to help meet the goal. Make sure that people feel comfortable and don’t feel the need to defend themselves.
Having common team goals is a great way to increase engagement, interactions and communication between your colleagues. There are a lot of creative examples that can be implemented – a board by the coffee machine with the number of successful days, a scoreboard that compares you to the best teams ever, or a totally irrelevant goal that might seem silly to others but not to your team. You could find ideas in the common humor and jokes that your colleagues have, things you all like, etc. The list is never-ending – you just need to find what suits your team best and start focusing.
After all, what makes a good team great is the ability to focus on the common goal. No sports team has ever won a major game by having the separate players focus on personal achievements and neglecting the big picture – they are all in for the win. As you and your team are.