How to Set Goals that Inspire High Team Performance

The following examples compare and contrast different ways of framing goals and portray how the use of performance orientation in goal-setting could be a far superior way to stimulate and motivate the team performance.

Sales Team in a Soft Drink Company:

General Goal: Sell as many crates as possible this month

Specific Goal: We want you sell x number of crates this month

Specific and Challenging Goal: We want you sell 20% more crates this month compared to what you sold last month

Performance Orientation: We want you sell at least 20% more crates this month compared to what you sold last month. We want growth. We want you to develop new business. We have the confidence that this team can help us surpass our business targets.

Similarly, if you were to tell your customer service team: ‘Respond rapidly to customers’, it would be a good goal but a non-specific goal.

If you say, ‘Respond within 24 hours’, it would become a specific goal. If you say, ‘Respond within 24 hours and solve the problem in a manner that creates good will among customers’, it would set your team thinking and provide a challenge.

If you went a step further and said, ‘Respond within 24 hours, solve the problem in a manner that creates goodwill, and we want you to help the organisation retain it’s customers’, this might prove to be the most inspiring form of goal-setting for your team because they will perceive that their performance can potentially have a positive impact on the organisation performance.

Another example:

If you were setting goals for a production team at a car manufacturing unit and want to reduce the incidence of defective parts and at the same time speed up the production, a goal that says, ‘Reduce defects and speed up the assembly line’ would be too general.

If you said, ‘We want you to aim for zero defects so that our company can achieve world class quality. We want you to simultaneously look for ways to increase the pace of the assembly line to save 20% time so that we can clear up the backlog of orders’, that’s more specific, challenging and inspiring as well.

As you can see in the examples above, general goals merely ensure that the team executes a task. Specific goals can generate a better performance because they provide direction on what exactly needs to be achieved. Specific, realistic and challenging goals warrant a greater level of performance because the results expected are a lot more demanding on the team. But it is goals that inspire and offer a performance orientation that actually present the team with not just the right challenge but also the inspiration and opportunity to constantly raise the bar on their performance. To recap, it cannot be emphasized enough that teams have to see their mission as important in helping an organisation address vital customer challenges. This has the potential to create a better focus and performance oriented work ethic.

The Secret to Creating Winning Teams

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