Hint: you are never too small or too big to care about this
Goal communication makes the difference between “all star” teams firing on all cylinders and a room full of people that hate their jobs. Seriously, it’s that big of a deal.
Write your goals on a whiteboard, don’t carve them in stone
Here is what great goal communication looks like:
- A CEO tells his team that he wants 30% revenue growth this year and asks each member of his team what they need to do in order to create that growth.
- Next, the CTO tells his team that he wants to migrate their infrastructure to Amazon Services, since he believes that the best way to develop the desired growth, and asks his team what they need to accomplish this.
- On and on this goes until a product manager responds with:
“Well, I can shut down our mobile efforts and retask my team if you really want, but that seems silly because our conversion rates on mobile are off the charts. If we focus on driving customers to mobile, we can take market share away from our competitors.“
- This is passed all the way back up to the CEO – who hadn’t anticipated this path, but now recognizes a great opportunity when he hears it.
- He decides that instead of focusing on general revenue growth he wants to increase market share by 400%.
- Everyone then goes about resetting their goals towards this new course…
Changing goals isn’t flip flopping
I would have been nervous reading that last section early in my career. I thought leaders had to be unflinchingly confident and resolute. Today, I’ve learned that leaders who are unwilling to compromise or adapt to new information seem tough – but fail miserably.
Remember that goals are just tools to unify collective action. It’s absurd to think that our strategies and plans won’t constantly be influenced by new information.
So how does this affect how well your team works? Well, there are several key advantages.
First, your team will capitalize on all the opportunities your organization already has in place rather than wasting time and money spinning it’s wheels.
Second, your team will take accountability for results when you allow them to solve problems their way. Dictating direction sets you up to fail.
Third, your team will work harder when they know you’re listening. And, they will recruit their friends.
Learn more about keeping your goals realistic and productive in my post, Managing Up.
Or, if you want to learn more about goal communication, check out https://www.goalsummit.com/, a great event put on by the great folks up at BetterWorks in San Francisco.
Contact my friend David Jackson @ Betterworks to learn more about their managed solution for OKRs – the communication pattern for goals created by the folks at Google.