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As a skilled professional in today's ever-changing business world, you face many challenges. You must continually evolve your skills to face the demands of your profession. This manual is aimed at energizing managers into radically improving their skills and the performance of their teams.

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Table of Contents

Strategic Goals and Objectives

  1. Strategic Goals and Objectives

“Excuse me, Sir,” Alice enquires. “Could you tell me which road to take?”

Wisely, the cat asks, “Where are you going?”

Somewhat dismayed, Alice responds, “Oh, I don’t know where I am going, Sir.”

“Well,” replied the cat, “if you don’t know where you are going, it really doesn’t matter which road you take.”

(Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll)

Effective goal setting is essential if you want to see your business strategies succeed. Many great business strategies fail simply because the company was not able to set goals properly.

  1. How Exactly Does Goal Setting Help?
  • Goals provide 
  • Goals provide feedback.
  • Goals motivate and provide adaily 
    1. Basic Tips for Effective Goal Setting
  • Identify both Short-term and Long-term goals.
  • Identify task goals in addition to outcome goals.
  • Take action.
  • Set both team and individual goals.

1.2.1 Short-term and Long-term Goals

Effective goal setting entails setting long-term and short-term goals; these goals will identify where the team is going and how they are going to get there.

When planning a holiday, you often think about dream destinations. Where would you go if you had unlimited funds and abilities… Hawaii, the Caribbean, Europe? As with traveling and many other aspects of life it is fun to dream. In teams (and management) it is also fun and important to dream. Dream Goals allow you to project years into the future without any limits. For example, for many teams making the top profit is a dream goal.

Teams need to progress from a dream goal to a long-term goal. Long-term goals are typically one year to numerous years down the road. One way to determine a good long-term goal would be to have team members ask themselves the question “where do I want to be at the end of the year or the end of five years?” Examples of the answer to this question can be in terms of having an improved system by the end of the year, a budget target, or a competitive position.

In order to make the long-term goal seem less daunting, short-term goals are set. Short-term goals are set for shorter lengths of time than long-term goals, usually between two weeks and one quarter of the year (3 months). Short-term goals serve as stepping-stones for the long-term goals. Setting short-term goals allow one to monitor success towards the long-term goals. A good question to have team members ask themselves is “Where do I want to be at the end of this month?”

Finally, short-term goals can also often feel far off, and therefore something more within reach is needed to maintain focus and motivation. For these reasons it is also important to set daily goals. Setting effective daily goals will help motivate and bring higher intensity to working teams. A good question for team members to ask themselves is “why am I coming to work today?”

1.2.2          Identifying Outcome Goals and Task Goals

Effective goal setting necessitates that team members set both outcome and task goals.

Most team members are good at setting outcome goals: an outcome goal is any type of goal directed at the end result. Team outcome goals are set when an individual focuses on attaining a specific target at the end of a month, or beating a team member on individual performance. Task goals are what the team member has to DO in order to accomplish their outcome goals.

Provide your own examples of task goals that apply to your specific team members.

1.2.3          Taking Action

Effective goal setting must involve not just a road map but a strategy to keep the goals “real” on a consistent basis.

Without much, if any, prodding from managers, team members are already setting goals (especially outcome goals). When asked, team members talk about goals such as wanting to make a certain target, improving a specific aspect of their job and so on. However, managers need to help team member’s progress from setting long-term and short-term goals to actually acting on these goals.

  1. Setting Both Team and Individual Goals

It is important that when you create goals, they are SMART goals. What does this mean? It means each goal should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Let’s look at these each in turn.


A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal, use the six ‘W’ questions:

  • Who:      Who is involved?
  • What:     What do I want to accomplish?
  • Where:    Identify a location.
  • When:     Establish a time frame.
  • Which:    Identify requirements and constraints.
  • Why:      Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.

EXAMPLE:    A general goal would be, ‘Get in shape’. But a specific goal would say, ‘Join a health club and work out 3 days a week’.


Establish the concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal that is set. When progress is measured, team members stay on track, reach their target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs them on to continued effort required in order to reach their goals.

To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as:

  • How much?
  • How many?
  • How will I know when it is accomplished?


When team members identify goals that are most important to them, they begin to figure out ways that they can make them come true. They develop the attitudes, abilities, and skills to reach them. This is a good opportunity to begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities and to bring them closer to the achievement of their goals.

Goals can be attained when steps are planned wisely and a time frame is established. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because goals shrink, but because team members grow and expand to match them. (When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.)           


To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which team members are both willingand able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic but be sure that every goal represents substantial progress. A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs ever accomplished actually seem easy simply because they were a labor of love.

A goal is realistic if the team member truly believes that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if a goal is realistic is to determine if they have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask them what conditions would have to exist in order to accomplish the goal.


A goal should be grounded within a time frame. Without a time frame tied to it there's no sense of urgency.

T can also stand for Tangible. A goal is tangible when the team member can experience it with one of the senses, that is, taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing.


When the goal is tangible the team member has a better chance of making it specific and measurable and thus attainable.

1.3          Setting Goals at the Right Level

Setting goals at the correct level is a skill that is acquired by practice.

Goals should be set so that they are slightly out of their immediate grasp, but not so far that there is no hope of achieving them: no-one will put serious effort into achieving a goal that they believe is unrealistic. However, remember that the belief that a goal is unrealistic may be incorrect.

Alternatively goals can be set too low because of:

  • Fear of failure: If team members are frightened of failure they will not take the risks needed for optimum performance. As they apply goal setting and see the achievement of goals, their self- confidence should increase, helping them to take bigger risks. Know that failure is a positive thing: it shows them areas where they can improve their skills and performance.
  • Taking it too easy: It is easy to take the reasons for not setting goals unrealistically high as an excuse to set them too low. If team members are not prepared to stretch themselves and work hard, then they are extremely unlikely to achieve anything of any real worth.
  • Personal factors such as tiredness, other commitments and the need for rest, etc. should be taken into account when goals are set.

Let your team members review the goals they have set, and then measure them against the points above. Adjust them to meet the recommendations and then review them.

1.4          Thinking a Goal Through

When your team members are thinking about how to achieve goals, asking the following questions can help them to focus on the sub-goals that lead to their achievement:

  • What skills do I need to achieve this?
  • What information and knowledge do I need?
  • What help, assistance, or collaboration do I need?
  • What resources do I need?
  • What can block progress?
  • Am I making any assumptions?
  • Is there a better way of doing things?

1.5          Tracking the Goal Progress

Once a goal setting “map” has been established, the next critical piece is to keep the team member accountable to these goals. Doing this is largely a matter of creativity and finds a means of accountability that will work for YOUR team members. Some examples of ways to keep goals at the forefront so they are acted upon include:

  • Complete weekly goal setting forms (mind mapping is also a good tool for this)
  • Developing a goal chart
  • Vision Boards
  • Verbalizing goals to other team members and superiors

1.6          Prioritizing Goals

Priorities are the most important part of carrying out a plan. Setting priorities will help accomplish goals by determining what should be done first.

1.7          Evaluating Goals

Effective goal setting requires team members to regularly evaluate progress towards their goals, note successes along the way, and modify goals if necessary.

Goals are meant to provide direction, give feedback on progress and motivate. To ensure they serve this purpose, goals must also be flexible. It is necessary to evaluate goals at several points during the year. Set up specific dates for your team members to monitor their success and to make changes if needed.

1.8          Managing Group Goals

Effective team goal setting includes both the manager (or team-leader) and the team members. Team goal setting allows the team members to be supported by the group and the group goals in their individual team member pursuits.

Team goals define a desirable state for the group at the end of a certain length of time. Team goals can guide how individual goals are set.

1.9          A Managers’ Guide to Goal Setting

1.9.1          Key Points to Emphasize When Introducing Goal Setting to your Team members

  • Ask your team members to define GOALS. Have them discuss why they set those goals. Then discuss additional ways that goals can help performance.
  • Teach your team members the importance of systematic goal setting and give examples of historic successes to stress your point.
  • Discuss, in detail, the tips of effective goal setting as outlined above.
  • Have team members complete goal setting exercises included at the end of this chapter.
  • Brainstorm ways for the team to ‘stay on top’ of the goal setting plan.

1.9.2          Types of Goals

Carefully developed goals, if attained, should give the manager better control of the job. Each manager should define one or two goals in each of the following categories.

                 Regular Work Goals

These include the major part of the manager's responsibilities. For example, the head of production should focus on the quantity, quality and efficiency of production and the head of marketing should concentrate on developing and conducting the market research and sales programs. In defining their regular work goals, team members should include ways of:

  • Operating more efficiently
  • Improving the quality of the product or service
  • Expanding the total amount produced or marketed

                   Problem-solving Goals

These provide managers an opportunity to define their major problems and to set a goal to solve each one. There is no danger of ever running out of problems; new problems or new versions of old problems are always present.

                   Innovative Goals

Managers and workers should seek new and better production methods, explore better ways to serve customers and propose new products for the company. Managers will need to use innovative approaches to make the company competitive in a fast-changing national and international economic environment.

                   Development Goals

In setting development goals, managers and team members recognize the importance of acquiring new skills. Managers should plan for the continued growth of each team member, both in technical areas and in work relations with fellow team members.


1.9.3          Devising a Work Plan

Managers and team members should use a miniature work plan to develop goals that are complete and useful. In developing the plan, the following five areas should be addressed:

  • Goal – Be specific and concise
  • Measurement – What benchmarks will you use to measure whether you have achieved your goals? These usually can be expressed in quantitative terms
  • Major problems anticipated
  • Work steps – List three or four of the most essential steps. Give completion dates for each
  • Matching goals – Team members should identify which of their manager's goals relate to their own goals.

On the work plan, managers can show each of the major work steps (subgoals) necessary to reach a goal. If the work steps are completed by the indicated date, the goal is reached. See the following page for an example.

Plan to Achieve Objectives

Manager: ____________________________________



Improve XYZ production system



 Major Action Steps   January-December

Action Steps













1. Decrease downtime of  XYZ system















a) Analyze methods of machine production

b) Identify

c) Determine


























2. Implement new system















3. Evaluate and report 
















1.9.4          Reporting Progress


Goal setting must include a provision for regular progress reports. Managers and team members will only accomplish goals or objectives if the planning calls for a regular review of progress. For example, one large organization issued nearly 100 pages of well-developed goals prepared by many of its managers. The document was very impressive, but it lacked a reporting system of any kind. You can imagine the skeptical reaction of those who set goals for the first year who were then asked the following year to draw up new goals.

A monthly or quarterly review of progress toward goals will help determine where progress is below expectations. For example, suppose that one goal is to reduce overtime work by 50 percent in one year, but it is only reduced by 15 percent in the first quarter. Based on this information, you can exert a special effort in the succeeding quarters to regain the lost ground.

When progress is below expectations, identify the problems holding back progress and assign someone to resolve them. Failure to reach goals can result from:

  • The wrong objectives being established at the outset
  • Organizational restrictions being overlooked
  • Top management does not become involved
  • Corporate objectives are inadequate
  • Personal failure or a combination of factors

In order to solve problems and meet a goal, managers may have to adjust their time line or change the goal itself. All changes should be written as new goals and included in the goal setting programme.

1.9.5          Evaluating Performance

In order for goals to materialize, the following minimum requirements are essential:

  1. Goals should be expressed in specific and measurable terms.
  2. Each team member should propose 5 to 10 goals to cover those aspects of his or her job crucial to successful performance.
  3. A final written statement of each goal is prepared, including a statement of the goal, method of evaluating the goal, work steps needed to complete the goal and an estimated time needed to complete the steps.
  4. Progress is evaluated at regular intervals (at least quarterly) and compared with the original goals.
  5. Problems that hindered progress were identified and corrected.
  6. Goals were related to each level of management, both those above and those below.

It is important that performance is based on objective results and not only personal abilities which are often seen in the more traditional goal setting methods. Such evaluation is a complex task that must be undertaken with care. Below is an example which encompasses an objective evaluation of results.


Traditional Method

Objective Method


Usually annually (If at all)

Usually Quarterly



Results versus objectives

Team member’s frame of mind

Mental Block (Does not know how traits will be evaluated.)

Constructive feedback. (Has told employee how well he or she is doing.)

Suggestions for improvement

Poor Receptivity – much is based on employee’s traits

Constructive – based on employee’s job performance

Tie in to rewards

Usually not directly tied in

Tied directly to results


Little connection to results

Results oriented

Under the objective results method, you will evaluate your team member’s performance on whether they have achieved their five to eight goals. You can also determine how well they have performed in their secondary duties that do not fall under goals. (See the following page for an objective method performance evaluation.)












Example of Traditional Performance Evaluation Form




Above average


Below average


Degree of Cost Consciousness






Grasp of Function






Decision Making Ability




































Relationship with people






Work habits






Contribution to company’s progress






Potential for advancement







Employee:_________________ Rated by: __________________

Date:_____________________ Reviewed by: _______________________

Acknowledgment:  I acknowledge this performance appraisal has been discussed with me. This acknowledgment does not constitute agreement with the findings.

Signed:____________________  Date: __________


Example of Results-Oriented Evaluation Form


Results achieved




Total Year








Improve by 10% number of qualified applicants referred for job openings

At least three qualified candidates referred for each job opening





Achieved in 97% of cases

Increase by 12% number of qualified welders during 2006

Number of persons completing welding course





17 Completed course

Note: T = On target. No action necessary. O = Off target. Action necessary.


1.9.6          Goal Setting Exercises

To help your team members understand and use goals, several goal setting worksheets and recording sheets are on the following pages. Select the exercises that will work best for your team. The exercises have been included to get team members started on effective goal setting; feel free to modify the forms by incorporating your own ideas into your goal setting programme.


    Goal Setting Exercise 1: How far should I look ahead?


Long term goals tell you where you want to go and short-term goals tell you how you are going to get there. Both are important for effective goal setting. This exercise will help to break down long-term goals.


  1. What is one of your long-term goals for this year?


  1. What are the abilities, skills or resources that you require to achieve this goal?




  1. What can you do between now and the end of the year to develop those abilities and skills?


  1. Are there obstacles that need to be overcome? If so name them.




  1. How will you overcome these obstacles?




  1. What will you do this week to get closer to your long-term goal?





Goal Setting Exercise 2: Moving Beyond Outcome Goals to Task Goal Setting

Outcome goals tell you where you want to be which can help motivate. But, on a daily basis, they do not tell you what you need to DO.

  1. Start with an Outcome

Choose an upcoming target, and pick a challenging but not impossible outcome goal. Write that goal down in detail:

  1. Moving from Outcome to Task Goals

How can you maximize your chances to achieve this goal? Write three things you can do in order to increase your odds of achieving the outcome goal.




[You have just gone from goal setting to task goal setting.]

  1. Practicing the Task Goals

What can you do between now and your target date to increase your chances of achieving your outcome goal?




               Goal Setting Exercise 3: Stepping Stone Exercise

Write your long-term goal in the oval. The arrows all point towards the goal. Use the arrows as stepping stones and write down your short-term goals that will lead to your long term goal.


               Goal  Setting Exercise 4: Make Dreams Reality

In the box provided write down your dreams as an engineer. Then underneath write down four things you can do today to bring you a little closer to your dreams.


closer to your dreams



Personal Goal Sheet

GOAL          SMART:  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Timely





















































OBSTACLES:   External and Internal

















People, skills, experience, material etc.

People, skills, experience, material etc.













































To give a broad, balanced coverage of all important areas in your life, try to set goals in some of these categories (or in categories of your own, where these are important to you):

  • Artistic: Do you want to achieve any artistic goals? If so, what?
  • Attitude: Is any part of your mindset holding you back? Is there any part of the way that you behave that upsets you? If so, set a goal to improve your behavior or find a solution to the problem.
  • Career: What level do you want to reach in your career?
  • Education: Is there any knowledge you want to acquire in particular? What information and skills will you need to achieve other goals?
  • Family: Do you want to be a parent? If so, how are you going to be a good parent? How do you want to be seen by a partner or by members of your extended family?
  • Financial: How much do you want to earn by what stage?
  • Physical: Are there any athletic goals you want to achieve, or do you want good health deep into old age? What steps are you going to take to achieve this?
  • Pleasure: How do you want to enjoy yourself? - you should ensure that some of your life is for you!
  • Public Service: Do you want to make the world a better place? If so, how?

Spend some time brainstorming these, and then select one goal in each category that best reflects what you want to do. Then consider trimming again so that you have a small number of really significant goals on which you can focus.
As you do this, make sure that the goals that you have set are ones that you genuinely want to achieve, not ones that your parents, family, or employers might want (if you have a partner, you probably want to consider what he or she wants, however make sure you also remain true to yourself!)


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