Goals not only provide purpose and a path to success, but also lead to better teamwork. Without goals, the desired destination may feel unattainable or too ambiguous. In addition to framing an approach to positive results, goals help team members understand and embrace their contributions to the company. With day-to-day responsibilities sometimes pulling focus away, how do successful organizations prioritize and focus on setting business goals?
Even though goal setting remains a popular practice in today’s business culture, 44% of workers cannot specifically name company goals and only 5.9% of businesses communicate goals daily, according to a study by ClearCompany. Keeping employees focused on business goals requires a conscious effort, from beginning to end.
“We keep our team focused through transparency, communication and purpose,” says David Weiss, Marketing Manager at Sherman’s, a home furnishings retailer with multiple locations in Illinois.
“For us, it begins with being transparent about where we are, where we’re going, and why. We provide regular updates, at least weekly if not daily, so everyone understands what’s most important right now and how we’re progressing.”
Accurately Assess Current State for Future Success
Take an honest look at where your company currently stands to take the first step toward reaching business goals. Understanding your present metrics not only provides direction, but it also helps your business formulate attainable and realistic goals for the future.
If you aren’t measuring where your business sits now and establishing benchmark metrics, how will you work toward conquering that next level — or even know when you’ve succeeded? With the right analytics and data-driven insights integrated into your efforts, from prospecting to purchasing, transparency conveys an accurate assessment of your business to help inform your team.
By adding AI-powered software connected to a cloud-based CRM, your company can collect valuable online data to generate insights not only into customers’ needs but to the overall effectiveness of your team’s efforts. Data provides a roadmap for your business to adjust and advance.
“For our property management leadership, the focus for our goal setting is marketing information and leasing data,” says Catherine Azar, Director of Property Management at Barratt Asset Management. “If we’re not mentioning our website on the phone enough, we will have a decrease in our leads. Or if our lead response time is not good enough, we report on that. We use PERQ software, so we know exactly what’s happening and break down every aspect of that whole leasing process. There are always ways we can improve.”
Communication Keeps Business Goals in the Forefront
Critical to transparency and tantamount to focus, communication keeps business goals front of mind. Employees want to know the score — are we winning or losing? Are our efforts moving the business toward the desired outcome?
“Barrett Asset Management is growing, so we have to keep our goals in the forefront,” Azar says. “We meet every single week to go over our progress, obstacles, or any kind of issue. We’re focused on our goals and where we want to go, what we want to do.”
Azar stresses the importance of creating a cadence of communication. “We never miss a meeting. They’re quick. We start on time. We end on time. We’re very respectful of each other’s time,” she says. “It’s been beyond beneficial. Constantly revisiting goals keeps them alive and fresh in our minds.”
In conjunction with regular meetings, Azar emphasizes creating an environment for honest exchange. “It’s having that safe zone to really make good goals. When you don’t make a goal or you can’t reach it, being able to say ‘that was too big. I should have made that two goals.’”
Jacob Sizemore, Marketing Director at Big Sandy Superstore, agrees that staying focused on goals requires top-of-mind awareness. “What you talk about is what’s present the most often, and that has to be consistent,” Sizemore says. “We meet weekly and dig in. We’re constantly talking about performance and topics driving business.”
Roles in Setting Business Goals Provide Purpose
Along with transparency and communication, employees crave purpose. Highly engaged employees understand the importance of their roles, how they personally contribute to goals, and ultimately their contribution to the success of the business.
“We drive employee engagement by helping them understand the big picture, and how they contribute to it individually and as a team,” Weiss says.
“Any good business has goals for the coming year and maybe goals for the quarter, things of that nature,” says Michael Norris, Chief Marketing Officer at Youtech, a digital agency that specializes in marketing multifamily property management companies but also works with clients from a variety of industries. “What becomes a problem is if individual goals don’t match up to the company-wide goals.”
“Look at specific departments and determine how they can help reach those goals. Set specific KPIs for each department to help science the overall goal,” Norris adds. “Knowing what KPI everyone should be shooting for creates a more tightly fit strategy across the board.”
At Big Sandy Superstore, an employee-owned business, the ideas of goal setting, employee purpose and engagement carry substantial weight. “Everything we do revolves around top-of-mind awareness of performance, with incentives to drive the right kind of behavior,” Sizemore says. “You’ve got to talk about it constantly, but there has to be an incentive to do it the right way, and a disincentive to do it the wrong way.”
Sizemore points out that when the business as a whole does well, tenured employees also do well. “We’re constantly keeping the perspective of ‘this is your company’ and as an employee-owner, you are tied to the long-term advantage of a profitable, stable company that’s reaching its goals.”
While not all businesses are or can be employee-owned, providing your team members with a sense of ownership in the top business goals for the organization will result in more success for everyone.