What is a Goal?

Good question. And considering how important goals are in every aspect of our lives it is surprising how many people don’t really understand what a goal is.

I would say this is the most important thing every manager needs to thoroughly understand. If you get this and act accordingly you are on your way to being head and shoulders above the rest.

A goal has a beginning; it starts with an active verb, an action word that implies doing something either now or in the future. For example: devise, introduce, develop, implement, reduce and produce.

A goal has middle; this is the place for ‘the what’. Exactly what it is you want to deliver, develop, and produce and so on.

And a goal has an end. This is where you set out a specific measure and also a date by which the goal should be achieved.

A goal should have a meaningful effect on the group or organization once achieved.

Goals should be achievable. Most managers set the bar too low, their goals aren’t challenging enough.

Failing to align rewards (monetary and others) with organization, team and individual goals is another common mistake.

Make sure that you create performance measures for your goals. Without them performance plans and performance reviews become impossible.

Don’t confuse actions with goals. Goals are the outcomes you desire, actions are the process for achieving them. Make sure you make it clear in performance planning sessions that your staff are responsible for the goal , they should decide on the appropriate action.


Denis Coleman

Denis Coleman is the founder and CEO of Work Compass, a cloud staff performance collaboration software platform that helps teams align their efforts with strategic goals and continuously improve performance. Frustrated with the disconnect between strategy setting and day to day execution and the lack of tools available to managers to help them be great at their most important function …. Aligning their teams activities with strategic goals and actively managing for high performance Denis spent over 5 years researching strategy execution and performance management practices before founding Work Compass to create a software solution. Denis has held senior roles in Ireland, Czech Republic and North America with high performing electronics manufacturing and professional services organisations for more than 12 years. Denis has worked as Finance Director responsible for €800 million in annual revenues for Flextronics International, Key Account Manager responsible for annual revenues of more than €600 million for Dovatron International and Management Consultant for BDO one of Europe’s most successful professional services providers.

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