Goals should be both realistic and attainable for the digital business. While an attainable goal may stretch a team in order to achieve it, the goal is not extreme in nature. We all should have some expectation that it can be achieved. Goals are neither out of reach nor below standard performance, as these may be considered meaningless.
When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You and your team develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. An attainable goal may cause goal-setters to identify previously overlooked opportunities to bring themselves closer to the achievement of their goals. Attainable goals help focus everyone’s efforts.
Goals should be motivating. They should galvanize the whole team to accomplish something great. They certainly can be aspirational. The work of transforming a company is not easy. Everyone knows that. Everyone wants to be motivated and your transformation goals are important in the work.
If they are not attainable, they become demotivating. We all must have a sense that we can reach the goal.
The purpose of a goal is to actually accomplish the result we have in mind. There is never a purpose that is useful to suggest something that we know can’t be done be a goal. It does happen, however, where a result is suggested and then nothing else is “taken off the plate” or resources aren’t devoted to making it happen. In those cases, it is common that everyone involved knows they are being set up for failure. That is, of course, devastating.
Senior management has a special responsibility to make sure that goals can, in fact, be reached. Employees may suggest goals that are beyond stretch and not attainable. Or employees may suggest goals that are a “cake walk”. In either case, realistic conversations need to occur to level set and make sure everyone is comfortable that strategies and tactics are in place to get us to the destination. If may be very difficult, if senior management sets a goal that is clearly unattainable, for employees to push back and talk about why that is true.
In setting an attainable goal, great consideration needs to be given to what resources need to be devoted to making it happen. Return on investment is real. To expect a return, with no investment, is a fool’s errand. Want something great to happen? What cost are you willing to bear to realize it?
Do you need more staff? Do you need a different kind of staff with different skills? Do priorities need to be set so it is clear this goal is important? Do other initiatives need to be eliminated or delayed to focus on this goal? Making a goal attainable may be about the resources and focus to make it attainable.
Here are the key ideas:
- Goals should stretch our performance but be realistic and attainable.
- Goals should not be easily attained.
- Goals should not be added, one on top of another, so that it becomes impossible to achieve any of them.
- Resources need to be devoted to achieve the goals.