Happy New Year! If you’re like most people, you might have made a few resolutions or set a couple goals for 2014. Now, the challenge becomes accomplishing those goals.
Organizations go through the exact same thing. They set goals and then need to ensure those goals are met.
One reason organizational goals aren’t realized is because they weren’t communicated properly. Here are the steps you can take to communicate your business goals effectively to the entire organization.
Include stakeholders in the goal-setting process
One of the best ways to get buy-in is to include people in the process. Allow the employees most impacted by the goal to have a say. For instance, if your company is planning to implement a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy in 2014, the technology department will be affected by this decision. So you should include members from the technology team in establishing the specifics for this goal.
Dedicate the time to set business goals
Don't take the process of setting goals lightly. When an organization creates a goal, they' also saying this goal is a priority. Why set a goal for something that isn’t a priority? The company should manage their priorities carefully because not everything can be a priority.
Many times, the goal-setting process is linked to budgets or annual performance reviews; but really, goal-setting can take place at any time.
Make sure goals align with the business and each other
When it comes to the point of actually conveying goals, think about presenting them in a logical format. The last thing anyone wants is for one goal to challenge another. Or — even worse — for a goal to contradict a company policy.
Address business goals that are no longer a priority
The business world is constantly changing. It’s likely that goals we set in the past are no longer relevant. It could be because a goal has been accomplished. For example, a company sets a goal to reduce turnover by 10%.
Once accomplished, the company is able to celebrate its success. Ah, but is it really something to celebrate if the goal is no longer essential for business success? If this is the case, leaders must then communicate the change in priorities to employees.
Talk about business goals in two ways: new and revised
Brand new goals should be singled out and discussed at length. This is an important step because employees are not familiar with them. Leaders should explain not only the specifics of these goals but why they're a focus for the organization. Similarly, remaining business goals should also be reviewed, particularly if they have been revised in some way; leadership needs to provide employees with an explanation of the changes.
Explain how and when goals will be measured and reported
Every business goal needs to be measured. Otherwise, why have them? When leadership explains each goal, they need to share the measurement of success and the method for collecting the data. I once worked for a company that maintained a board with our success metrics; it was placed just inside the employee entrance.
Every day, employees could see how the company was doing compared to its goal. Employees told us this visual of our company’s success metrics was a great motivator.
Allow employees to ask questions
After providing a thorough explanation of the company’s goals, take time to field some questions. Employees might want further clarification. Don’t make the assumption that questions mean employees aren’t in favor of the goals. Questions can be a good sign that employees are engaged and interested. The discussion lets you know they understand.
It's never too late to communicate business goals
If you’ve already completed your goal-setting exercise and missed one (or more) of these steps… no worries. You can go back and close the loop.
Let’s use the first example, the BYOD policy. Suppose you forgot to bring technology into the conversation. To fix the matter, have a meeting with the technology team, apologize for not bringing them in the loop, and ask for their feedback.
Or if you didn’t identify the goals that are no longer a priority, at the next staff meeting mention that you want to take time to explain the reason certain goals will not be at the top of the priority list in 2014. This could be a great time to acknowledge the accomplishment of goals from previous years.
The important step is to communicate. Employees who know all about the goals of the organization can have focus and a positive impact on achieving those goals.
Your turn: What techniques do you use to effectively communicate organizational goals?