Achieving team goals isn’t easy. When pressure starts piling up and you’re not seeing any results, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But it’s possible to take steps to ensure your team succeeds and hits their goals. Follow these five best practices to achieve your team goals time and time again.
1. Set Goals and Establish Benchmarks
It may sound obvious, but the first step in achieving your team’s goals is to set them. But that’s easier said than done. So often, teams set vague goals to “increase sales” or “bring in more leads.” These types of unfocused goals will lead to unfocused teams and disappointing results.
Many business professionals use the SMART goals framework to create effective, purpose-driven goals. SMART goals are:
- Specific: Do you know exactly what steps to take?
- Measurable: Will you know when you’ve accomplished the goal?
- Achievable: Is this a realistic expectation?
- Relevant: How does this goal contribute to your business’s wider purpose?
- Time-bound: Do you have a deadline for your goal?
For example, let’s say your marketing team has a broad goal to bring in more leads. A SMART version of that goal might be:
- Use PPC and LinkedIn ads to bring in 20 qualified leads in April.
This goal is specific because it identifies the exact channels the marketing team will use to generate leads. It’s measurable because it gives a quantifiable number to reach. It’s achievable because it’s based on their past performance. It’s relevant because it contributes to the company’s goal of sourcing high-quality leads. And finally, it’s time-bound, because it must be achieved by the end of April. Set SMART goals to start seeing results in your business.
2. Practice Good Communication
Once you set your goals, the most important thing you’ll need to do is practice good communication. You can have the SMARTest goals and most capable team members in the world, but if you don’t communicate well, your efforts won’t succeed.
Start by clearly communicating each goal to your team. Each team member should understand the “why” behind the goal — what’s the point? How will it advance the company’s mission or vision? Team members will be much more invested in reaching a goal when they internalize its larger purpose.
Next, assign responsibilities to each team member. To avoid letting tasks fall through the cracks, make sure each team member understands their part in the larger picture. That way, if something doesn’t get done, team members can identify the gap in the process and fix it.
On the technology side, invest in communication tools like business chat, internal IMs, or virtual meeting spaces to allow team members to easily stay in touch at all times. Encourage team members to ask for help, work through problems, and get feedback from their peers.
Above all, you should strive to create an environment where employees feel comfortable bringing up concerns and identifying problems. Celebrate wins, check in regularly, and be available when your team needs you. Good communication is at the heart of team success.
3. Keep a Schedule
To keep your team on track while achieving your goals, use a schedule maker or shared calendar. If possible, choose a centralized schedule or calendar that updates across all platforms and is visible to everyone on the team.
Using a schedule will allow each individual team member to keep track of their responsibilities while also keeping tabs on the overall progress of the team. You’ll cut down on silos, increase visibility, and encourage more collaboration. Team leaders will better understand the workload on each employee’s plate and distribute or redistribute tasks accordingly.
Schedules also provide a good benchmark for quickly assessing the progress toward your goal. By glancing at the schedule or calendar, you can easily see if tasks are behind, ahead, or stalled. You can then take appropriate action to address the situation. Ensure smoother operations and level up your business with a shared schedule.
4. Discover Each Team Member’s Strengths
Teams succeed when each team member can use their unique skills and talents to shine. A long-term way to ensure you achieve your team’s goals is to foster growth and better teamwork by discovering and encouraging each team member’s strengths.
There are dozens of ways to test for your employee’s strengths. Personality assessments like the Myers-Briggs or DISC help identify working styles. You can also use coaching assessment tools to identify potential future leaders. Once you find areas of strength, you can leverage these skills to achieve team goals.
In addition to identifying strengths, these types of tests can determine weak areas for possible training, development, or improvement. When you invest in your team members, you strengthen the overall team and ultimately move closer to achieving your goals.
5. Give Your Team Grace
You won’t always hit the mark. When your team falls short, it’s important to move forward with grace and purpose. Honestly assess what went wrong and why, but don’t point fingers at individual team members or play the blame game. Try to create a positive team environment where people feel comfortable owning up to their mistakes and learning from them. This culture will be a powerful tool in helping your team achieve goals.
Dr. Angela Duckworth has done a lot of research on the growth mindset, which is a state of mind that highly resilient people possess. People with a growth mindset understand that they may not be good at a particular task to start with, but they can always learn and grow in it. This type of mindset is imperative for successful teams to recognize mistakes with grace, understand what went wrong without blame, and move forward with proactive steps about how to change in the future.
How to Achieve Your Team Goals
When you invest in your team, you’ll experience the rewards. Set SMART goals, communicate well, keep a schedule, cultivate strengths, and promote a culture of grace to help your team succeed and achieve your goals again and again.
Jordan McDowell is a writer and content strategist. He specializes in technically-oriented B2B and B2C content for a number of digital companies