Writing down goals and resolutions doesn’t seem very constructive, especially when many people don’t follow through on them. According to one study, though, people who wrote down their goals were 33 percent more successful in achieving them than those who formulated outcomes in their heads. A Harvard Business study found that the three percent of graduates from their MBA program who wrote their goals down, ended up earning ten times as much only ten years after graduation compared to the others in their group.
Even those who don’t write down their goals have been found to be more successful than those who didn’t establish any in the first place. Another Harvard Business study found that 14 percent of the people who have goals are 10 times more successful than those who don’t.
For medical billing business owners and other entrepreneurs, setting goals with your team offers multiple advantages, especially for the upcoming year. Research shows that employees are motivated by clear goals and appropriate feedback. Setting goals for organizational success also can help keep team members accountable, help quantify success, aid employees in feeling more fulfilled and ensure employees are working toward a shared vision.
Categories and Characteristics
Before describing common characteristics of goals and outlining tips to create them, let’s differentiate between goals, objectives and purpose. Goals are statements or descriptions of what your organization wants to accomplish and stem from your primary purpose. Objectives are descriptions of exactly what is to be done in order to meet your goals, and you might have multiple objectives for each goal. A purpose is a broad, general statement that describes the reason(s) your organization exists.
Goals can be based on time, focus or topic or a combination of the three. However, to motivate employees, they should consist of five principles: clarity, challenge, commitment, feedback and task complexity. You might have heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals, an acronym for:
S – specific
M – measurable
A – achievable
R – relevant
T – timely
As a leader, you and your team should create – and document – clear goals that are as specific as possible and able to be measured (preferably quantifiable) by a set standard understood by the whole group. Set challenging short- and long-term goals but not ones that aren’t realistically achievable, which will most likely lead to disappointment and not motivate your team.
Setting goals as a group or team often results in better commitment, more motivation among members and a better understanding of the goals and rationale for selecting them. It also creates better goals by having more ideas and opinions in the process
Your goals should be consistent with your organization’s mission, purpose(s) and objective(s) and benefit your team as a whole. Initiating a time limit in which the goals should be accomplished motivates the organization’s ability to monitor performance results and focus efforts on effective goal achievement.
Having a facilitator lead your goal-setting session can help streamline the process but is not necessary. Following are some tips for ensuring the time you and your team spend on goals for next year is productive:
- Meet in an informal setting or a virtual meeting
- Start by doing a SWOT (evalute companies strengths, weaknesses, oppurnities and threats) analysis with your team
- Take a look at the weaknesses and threats and see how you can turn them into opportunities
- Encourage brainstorming and open communication from everyone in the group.
- Set three-to-five annual priorities agreed upon by your team.
- Write them down!
- Get team members to volunteer and spearhead each priority. Preferrably one team member per priority.
- Give that team member the autonomy to lead this and create their team to execute on the priority
- Determine a plan of action for each goal. Each priority will have multiple steps and milestones of success
- Set a timeline for your priorities
- Allow team members to set their own personal goals that align with the companies annual priorities
- Be flexible, and adapt goals in real-time.
- Meet weekly, monthly and quarterly to discuss accomplishments, lessons learned, SWOT, trends and strategic issues.
- Provide feedback regularly, and be transparent with your team.
- Consider offering rewards to motivate employees and spur friendly competition.
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