As we approach the end of February, for some leaders, anxiety is starting to set in. The year’s plans have been crafted, and in many companies, there have been January meetings to launch the new plans with the rest of the employee base. Many leaders are already thinking of what is next on the horizon or even how to build contingencies for those plans that don’t meet expectations in the coming months.
But what if employees need more guidance to fully understand how their daily work needs to shift to help support the new plans that were just launched? Who is taking the time to help them see how they can help ensure the company goals are met?
In many cases, this is a critical step that is left to a variety of teams and managers to figure out. And this step is why so many leaders panic by the summer – when they realize that expectations will not be met.
Here are two additional steps Corporate Path Leadership believes are needed to better align all team member actions to the overarching goals — and better ensure results can be achieved:
#1 – WORK WITH ALL KEY TEAM LEADERS TO MATCH THEIR TEAM GOALS TO THE COMPANY GOALS
If a company goal is to drive a 20% increase in revenue, each team should know how they will help the company reach that goal. For a Sales team, that will be straight-forward, but other teams need to have goals that help increase revenue as well.
- The legal department might need a goal to reduce customer contract review time by 50%.
- The marketing team may need to generate an additional 1,000 highly qualified leads.
All team leaders should have the responsibility to demonstrate how their individual teams will concisely help reach the company goals. And all employees on those teams need to know what their total team contribution is going to be — and understand why these goals are going to be top priorities for the year.
#2 – REQUIRE ALL TEAM LEADERS TO MATCH THEIR EMPLOYEE GOALS TO THE TEAM GOALS
Once each team has aligned its goals with company goals, it is time to take the next step and align each team member with how their efforts will help with the team goals. This might seem like an unnecessary extra step, but consider for a minute, how will the team reach their goals if the team members don’t understand how their day-to-day job needs to change focus?
You and their team leader will need to help them get set up for success by establishing goals that are S.M.A.R.T. – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Some employees will have direct alignment with the goals, while others may only have indirect alignment. Regardless of these scenarios, each team member needs to know how they can contribute.
- Going back to our increasing revenue example, an account manager may be tasked to improve customer service by increasing the frequency of calls to customers or aiming for faster call backs, with the goal of increasing customer retention, or growing add-on revenue.
- The billing team may be tasked to take a more active approach with past-due accounts to ensure those invoices turn into measurable revenue.
A good test for both steps above is to walk the halls a few weeks after the company and team goals are set and ask individual employees what their specific contribution is for the new company goals. If someone says “I don’t know” or seems to be making up a vague answer, it is time to revisit that team leader and ask to see the mapping of employee goals to team goals. Either the mapping hasn’t been done, or the information isn’t sticking with the individual employee and that employee needs a refresher.
When everyone is aligned, it will be easier for employees to make sure their priorities are focused on the team goals. This also keeps leaders focused on showcasing how their groups are helping to make the company goals a success!
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