Leadership – 5 Common Mistakes in Setting Goals

As a leader in an organisation, function or team, part of your role is to set goals. Your goals are the results that you and your people will deliver. In theory goal setting is simple, but in practice it can be challenging. So what are the 5 common mistake leaders make in setting goals?

Mistake 1: Using vague words

One of the hallmarks of good goals is that they are crystal clear and specific. Often goals are written in wishy washy language or vague words, for example:

o Having greater levels of employee engagement
o Making the recruitment process more efficient
o Producing better quality products

Make a point of checking that you can define the results that will be delivered once the goal is achieved.

Mistake 2: Not focused on what really matters

Every organisation has some things that are so critical to its success that it must get right. What are the critical things in your organisation? Answering this question is a vital element in creating goals that really matter to the organisation.

Mistake 3: Not having an effective way of measuring progress

It is all well and good to set goals. But how do you know whether you are on or off track when it comes to achievement? Effective measures are your way of answering this question.

Mistake 4: Not being specific enough

Growing business or market share is often something that is highlighted as important to the organisation. While this is a useful starting point, the goal needs to be much more specific. Questions to ask include:

o What sectors do you want to grow in
o What customer groups do we want a bigger share in

Mistake 5: Being overly optimistic

There is nothing wrong as a matter of course in aiming high and having a big vision for the organisation long term. On the other hand in the short term you want to balance setting challenging goals and keeping people motivated. Being overly optimistic or setting what is perceived as unrealistic goals is a sure-fire way to de-motivate.

Goals are a big factor in the success or otherwise you achieve as a leader. The question is are you ready to make the investment in time and energy to create goals that will set you up for success?

By     John   Vaughan

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