The 7 Steps To Efficiently Set Team Goals
Want to set up efficient team goals for your organization?
Team goals help your team improve their productivity and hit their targets. With well-defined team goals, you’ll have no trouble meeting project deadlines and getting things done!
In this article, we’ll cover why goal-setting is so important and how you can easily create a team goal-setting process at your company. Additionally, we’ll highlight the best goal-setting solution to crush your goals.
And since we’re talking about crushing team goals, why not take some help from one of the best teams the world has ever seen – The Avengers!
Let’s get started.
What Are Team Goals?
Team goals aren’t just simple aspirations for your team.
Team goals are clear-cut objectives tied to your team’s performance that help your team identify an action plan and determine what constitutes a meaningful result. They’re also measures of productivity and efficiency; designed to get the best out of your team.
For example, if Captain America wanted to set a big picture goal for The Avengers, he could set something like “defeat 20 supervillains by October.”
With this big picture goal, The Avengers know:
- What they have to achieve
- What constitutes success
- When they have to achieve the result
They can now focus less on trying to decide on a common action plan, and spend more time actually fighting their enemies!
What’s common between Tony Stark (Ironman) and the ideal team goal?
They’re both SMART!
However, we’re pretty sure no team goal could do this:
What is a SMART goal?
A SMART goal is a specific action that can be measured in a relevant time frame.
Most successful businesses use the SMART goal technique to develop effective team goals. SMART is an acronym for the different characteristics an ideal team goal should have.
The SMART framework stands for:
Let’s break down the SMART framework and take a look at why Captain America’s big picture goal of “defeating 20 villains by October” fits perfectly:
1. Specific goals:
All goals in the SMART framework must be specific.
You must clarify the who, what, why, where, and when of every individual goal.
Remember, goals are supposed to help your team focus on what they have to do. If your goals are vague, they’re going to confuse your team.
Cap’s goal of defeating 20 villains by October is perfect as it’s super-specific, helping The Avengers focus on what they have to do.
2. Measurable goal:
Every SMART goal must have a qualitative or quantitative criterion for measuring success. Without this, you can’t track how you’re doing to determine if things are on track.
As measuring the number of villains you defeat is easy (for The Avengers – not us mortals), it’s a good goal.
3. Achievable goal:
While you should set challenging goals, it should still be an achievable goal. If your team’s goal isn’t attainable, you’re setting them up for failure. This could demoralize them as they won’t enjoy the positive benefits of goal achievement.
While 20 villains sound like a lot, Cap knows that this is still an achievable goal for them.
After all, they beat this guy:
4. Relevant goals:
It doesn’t matter if you set big goals or a smaller goal.
All goals set should be relevant to your organization’s goal and mission.
This ensures that every common goal you set (and hopefully achieve) contributes to your overall ambitions.
The Avengers are focused on eliminating the world from evil, so getting 20 villains off the streets is a good place to start.
5. Time-bound goals:
Every individual goal must have a time frame attached to it to create a sense of urgency. Without a clear time frame, your goal could be put on hold indefinitely.
As Cap wants his team to catch 20 villains by October, there’s a clear due date to create a sense of urgency.
What Are OKRs?
No…OKRs aren’t the newest set of inventions by Tony Stark.
However, they have changed the world – much like his other inventions!
OKRs (objectives and key results) is an effective method to devise the best goals for your organization for maximum productivity.
This effective goal setting method is used by giants like Google, LinkedIn, and Airbnb. It’s the perfect way to devise the best goals for your organization for maximum productivity.
What are the components of this effective goal setting method?
In this approach, you divide a goal into a few key objectives that are tracked by certain key results.
But wait…doesn’t that sound like dividing a goal into specific objectives?
It’s pretty similar!
When dealing with OKRs, keep this in mind:
- What you’d usually call a goal = objective
- What’d you’d usually call an objective = key result
Read more about Goals vs Objectives.
And when developing an OKR, use this simple format:
I will (objective) as measured by (set of key results)
So what are these objectives and what is a key result?
Objectives are qualitative descriptions of what you want to achieve. For example, one of The Avenger’s organizational objectives could be “decreasing the crime rate in New York by 30%.”
2. Key results
These are a set of metrics that you track to measure your progress towards your objective. For example, “defeating 10 villains” is a good key result for their objective of decreasing crime.
Ideally, you should have more than one key result for all of your organizational objectives.
This ensures that you’re not relying on only one metric and have a holistic approach to tracking your progress.
For example, defeating villains is a good way to reduce crime, but it’s not the only way. If The Avengers only focused on that, they’d be missing out on other more effective ways like community outreach and raising awareness.
Read our article to get more examples of OKRs.
Similarly, businesses should track more than one key result for each of their objectives.
For example, if your goal was “increasing customer satisfaction,” don’t just rely on “lower customer complaints” as a key result. Track key results like “lower call waiting times” and “better online reviews” too.
If you want to set goals that are perfect, set SMART goals within the OKR goal setting approach.
- SMART is going to help you set goals that are clear, achievable and measurable
- The OKR approach is going to give each individual clarity over what they’re trying to achieve and highlight how they should achieve it
How to deal with OKRs successfully
Since most organizational objectives have a number of key results, manually keeping track of them is going to be incredibly inefficient.
As your team is dealing with so many key results, they’re going to lose sight of a few – which in turn, will make reaching your objectives harder.
For example, if The Avengers had 8 key results to deal with, they couldn’t manually stay on top of each one while dealing with this:
Sure, they’re superheroes, but they can’t perform miracles!
Instead of this manual approach, ensure that you use a dedicated project and goal management tool for this. As all your OKRs are neatly arranged here, your team can quickly take stock of everything while carrying out your action plan.
The 3 Benefits Of Setting And Achieving OKRs And Team Goals
So what’s the outcome of using the SMART and OKR approach in 2021?
While it can’t make you as powerful as The Avengers, it’s definitely going to help you become as efficient as them.
Here’s a look at the benefits you’ll enjoy:
1. Improved Work Performance
Do you think The Avengers would’ve been successful if they didn’t always know what they had to do?
Defining goals helps your team understand what they’re working towards. With a clear goal, objective, and milestone in place, your team always knows what to do.
This ensures that they waste less time figuring out what to do, and spend more time acing their different goals and objectives!
Goals also help your team gauge if things are on track or not.
If a team member realizes they’re falling behind, they can kick things into high gear to ensure that deadlines are met.
2. Increased Motivation and Commitment
Informing everyone of their place in the wider company goal is a great way to motivate your team.
By defining the specific value that each member contributes to your organization, you can instantly boost the team’s overall commitment to their shared goal.
Think about it.
Hawkeye isn’t the most powerful Avenger, right?
But the rest of the team made him feel like he was a key part of their success and they couldn’t do it without him.
This increased job satisfaction and motivation will improve productivity as your team is now emotionally invested in the challenging goals they’re pursuing.
Read these teamwork quotes to get more ideas to motivate your team.
3. Efficient Teamwork
What made The Avengers so successful?
And that’s exactly what effective goal setting facilitates.
As each individual knows everyone’s role, team members can easily coordinate with each other over a shared goal.
A clear goal will also define specific roles and responsibilities – reducing the chances of any intra-team conflict happening.
Nobody’s going to blame each other for unfinished work or disagree over what needs to be done over a common goal.
Unlike these guys:
7 Key Steps To Set Team Goals
Now that you know what team goals are and why you need them, let’s get into how you can get started with it:
1. Understand your organization’s goals
Before setting team goals, it’s important for leadership to take stock of what their organization wants to achieve.
Is your company goal higher revenue from a specific product?
Is your common goal increased sales?
Perhaps your organization’s goal is lower attrition or increased employee engagement?
Defining this at the start is key as your team goals will be facilitating this overall objective.
Building team goals with this top-down approach allows you to set an overarching theme before getting down to the details. This ensures that all your team and individual goals provide value to your overall company goal.
2. Collaborate with your entire team to develop a strategy
Captain America doesn’t create an action plan all by himself, right?
Every Avenger gets to have their say.
Similarly, once a team leader has an idea of what they’re looking to achieve, they can start to plan a strategy for these goals.
It’s important for any team leader or goal owner to include the entire team when setting team goals.
When a team leader includes input from the team, they’re guarding against setting team goals that are unreasonable and unattainable.
Remember, your entire team will be executing this strategy.
They understand their strengths and weaknesses better than you do. By including their insights, a goal owner can develop a shared goal that’s reasonable and feasible.
Read more about team collaboration.
3. Set goals that are specific
At this stage, every team and personal goal is going to be fairly abstract.
For example, The Avengers may decide that they want to catch more criminals.
However, “more” is a relative term as the whole team won’t interpret it the same way.
Thor may see “more” as just a couple of extra criminals while Black Widow may think it’s ten extra villains.
This leads to confusion as these different interpretations will lead to inconsistency in pursuing the team’s goal.
Always add a quantifiable objective and milestone to your team’s goal. Clarifying these priorities at the start will prevent hiccups over your achieving your challenging goals later on.
4. Tie personal goals to incentives
While The Avengers don’t need any added motivation, your team might.
And tying personal goals and milestones to incentives is a great way to motivate your team.
However, you have to be careful with the kind of incentives you offer.
Setting team goals with unreasonably high expectations and incentives could develop a toxic atmosphere where your employees compete with one another.
Ensure that the outcome of performance goals is cooperation, motivation, and productivity – not toxic competition like this:
5. Set deadlines
Do you think The Avengers would’ve stopped Ultron if they didn’t know that time was running out?
But, the sense of urgency definitely helped right?
Setting goals with deadlines will improve accountability in your organization.
As your team knows that these goals must be completed by a certain date, they’re motivated to get started on them right away. This pushes your team to avoid procrastinating over their performance goals.
Setting goals without deadlines always leads to stalling. Your team won’t be motivated to complete them as there’s no sense of urgency – thereby leaving tasks indefinitely unattended.
6. Track your progress
Checking in on your progress also lets you course correct.
If things are going wrong, you can immediately recalibrate to stay on track. Alternatively, your plan is progressing quicker than expected, you can reallocate some of these resources to another task instead.
If Captain America and Iron Man are about to defeat a villain, they can send Thor and the Hulk to beat the villain’s army that is approaching!
7. Review your goals
It’s always important to conduct post-project reviews to assess your employee goals.
Ask your whole team for their opinion on the employee goals you set and what they’d like to be changed in future projects.
- Were the employee goals achievable?
- Was every milestone clear?
- Was the plan well thought out?
- Did the whole team have the skills to cope with your goals?
When setting goals the next time, measure their recommendations alongside your expectations. This will help you set a clear goal that’s achievable while challenging.
Additionally, this post-project review will give your team a chance to grab a bite to eat like The Avengers here:
How To Set Team Goals With A Project Management Tool
Remember how we talked about why tracking goals and OKRs manually isn’t a good idea?
You need a dedicated project management and goal setting solution to manage your goals instead.
Luckily, that’s exactly what ClickUp is!
It has all the goal setting and performance management features you need!
Here’s a closer look at some of these handy features:
1. Goals and Targets
ClickUp gives you the most comprehensive goal-setting solution on the market.
In fact, we’re pretty sure The Avengers would have loved it if they used it!
ClickUp’s Goals can be used for:
- Weekly scorecards
- Everything else!
ClickUp’s Goals are high-level containers that are broken down into smaller Targets. These Targets are measurable and, when completed, will also complete your own Goal.
Splitting Goals into targets gives you in-depth customizability over what each Goal contains. You can set a goal with a number of different individual Targets:
- Number: track increases or decreases between number ranges.
- True/False: binary done or not done options.
- Currency: track a financial goal in a specific currency
- Tasks: automatically tracks the completion of tasks and/or lists.
This way, if The Avengers want to set an overall Goal like reduce crime by 30%, their Targets could be:
- Catch 10 criminals
- Conduct 5 community outreach programs
How to Set Goals in ClickUp
ClickUp is the perfect solution for anyone looking to set up some professional goals:
Step 1: Create a Goal
Remember, ClickUp’s Goals are high-level containers that are further broken down.
To create a Goal, go to “Goals” in ClickUp, and click on the “+ New Goal” button:
Step 2: Edit that goal
ClickUp gives you all the customization you need to create a Goal that’s tailor-made for whatever you want to achieve.
You can edit:
- The team Goal name
- The team Goal due date
- Who owns the Goal (who’s responsible for it)
- Who has access to this Goal
- The Goal’s description for a detailed breakdown of what it’s about
Step 3: Set your Targets
Now that you’ve created your Goal, you can begin to set Targets for it.
In the traditional goal-setting process, these Targets function as your objectives.
To add a Target, click on the “Create a Target” button after you’ve created your Goal.
Step 4: Edit your Targets
Now you can edit your Targets like you edited your overall Goal.
You can customize:
- The Target’s name
- The owner of the Target
- What each Target tracks (number, true/false, currency, tasks)
Step 5: Create more Targets
Repeat this process to create the right number of targets (objectives) you want to track.
Step 6: Track your progress
After you’ve created all your Targets, you can easily get started on your action plan and track your goal progress from ClickUp.
ClickUp will highlight:
- Your progress for each individual Target.
For example, if The Avenger’s Target was to catch 10 villains, they can track how many they’ve already caught.
- How your Target progress has contributed to your overall Goal outcome.
For example, if The Avengers completed half of all their targets so far, ClickUp will show your Goal progress as 50%. This is an easy way to quickly track how close to the finish line you are!
How to track OKRs in ClickUp?
If you’re following the OKR method, just follow the same steps above.
However, within the OKR method:
- ClickUp Goal = your objective
- ClickUp Target = your key result
Apart from that, everything remains the same!
2. Goal Folders
ClickUp allows you to create Goal folders to neatly categorize and organize your professional Goals. This ensures that they’re easily accessible and you never lose sight of them.
This way, you won’t be as confused as poor Bruce Banner (Hulk) over here:
Your goal folders can be:
- Public (accessible to everyone in your business)
- Private (where you assign customizable access rights)
This added flexibility allows a Goal owner to store sensitive Goal folders without having to worry about privacy.
While guests can’t create Goals, you can share these folders with them. You can customize the level of access guests have to make it easy to work with clients and stakeholders.
This way, The Avengers can easily share their plans with Nick Fury without worrying about it getting into the wrong hands.
3. Manage Sprints With Goals
While we can’t confirm it, we’re sure The Avengers loved the Agile project management methodology.
Because it’s quick and efficient – much like The Avengers themselves.
And if you’re an Agile fan, you’ll love ClickUp!
Even though ClickUp can support any project methodology, Agile teams will feel especially at home.
ClickUp lets Agile teams easily focus on their sprints through Goals.
Here’s how to do it:
A) Set Team Sprints As Goals
ClickUp lets you add your sprint lists as Targets which are added to overall development goals. For example, if your Sprint list contains 50 tasks, they’ll be added as Targets for your sprint Goal.
Once your team starts working on these tasks and completing them, you’ll see the progress toward your overall Goal. It’s a great way to instantly keep up with your task lists and measure how much is left to be done!
B) Set Backlog Goals
ClickUp’s Goals can also support task management in your Backlog (contains every pending task). Simply create a list of all your Backlog tasks and create a Goal out of them.
C) Adding Scrum Points
ClickUp lets you add Scrum points to your Agile workflows to make project management easier. With ClickUp’s Scrum points, you’ll be able to:
- Track your workload
- Track progress and velocity
- Plan capacity
Scrum points make it easy for you to identify your Workplace’s progress by calculating the number of tasks completed vs. incomplete tasks:
You’ll even be able to manage your Workplace’s workload with Scrum points. It makes it easy to identify what everyone’s working on and monitor performance goals:
For example, Cap can take a look at the Workload tab to check if each Avenger has an equal share of the work.
We’re pretty sure Thor’s slacking a bit though:
For a detailed walkthrough on setting up Scrum points in ClickUp, click here.
That isn’t all that ClickUp offers you.
You even get features like:
- Project Management Automation: automate repetitive processes to save time
- Agile project management charts: track Agile and scrum projects with burndowns, burnups, velocity charts, and cumulative flow diagrams
- Priorities: to always attempt your most important tasks first
- Due dates: to ensure your team always finishes their work on time
- Dependencies: to attempt tasks in the right order
- Pulse: check what your remote team is currently focused on
- Weekly Scorecards: analytics for better performance management
- Custom Statuses: create customized project statuses for everything
Setting challenging yet attainable team goals is a great way to motivate your team toward success.
But just setting goals isn’t enough.
You also need a way to monitor and achieve them!
Luckily, ClickUp has all the features you need to carefully plan and execute your goals. Whether it’s goal-setting, goal monitoring, or facilitating teamwork – ClickUp can handle everything you need!
So why not sign up today to chase down your goals as well as The Avengers chased down villains?