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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Playing Goal Keeper

In sports, a goal keeper is a player that is charged with directly preventing the opposite team from scoring by defending the goal. As a leader, you need to be a goal keeper of a different sort. You need to be the one who establishes goals for your team, clearly communicates them on a regular basis, and the person who helps your talent to learn ways to fulfill and exceed the set objectives.

Goal setting involves establishing specific, measurable and time-targeted objectives. Sure, that sounds easy enough. But how do you do this in an uncertain operating environment, where the winds of change are constant and the latest fire drill flips the priorities? In essence, goal setting today is a lot like chasing moving targets. But the reality is that uncertainty and change are the norms of doing business today. If you don’t establish goals, it’s easy to lose your line of site and miss out on fulfilling the broader vision for the organization.

With a clear vision, one that is regularly articulated and discussed with your team, you can define accountability for meeting goals and have a solid platform to loop back and review performance. It’s important for leaders to regularly communicate with the team, set milestones on the path to achieving the goals, and ask for regular updates from everyone on progress.

If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set with your team. When you measure progress, the whole team is more likely to stay on track, reach target dates, and experience the sense of achievement that spurs everyone on to continue the efforts required to reach new goals.

Boost the commitment and development of your team by setting goals that will help to stretch their learning. Employees want career development opportunities. Employees want to be led by those who recognize and appreciate them, and who give them the opportunity to be challenged and enriched by their work.

Is your team clear on the goals for your organization? Are you actively keeping them on track to fulfill them?

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