5 Steps to Define Goals for your High-Performing Team


Do you want to transform your team from good to great? If so, it’s important to take a step back and examine the foundation of your team. We previously discussed that one consistent characteristic among high performing teams is that they work toward a clearly defined common goal. What is your team working towards? Is everyone clear on the team’s objective? Are they engaged? Are they committed to achieving the goal? Without a clearly defined goal, how do team members know their greater purpose? Do they know how to gage whether they are successful? Do they even know if their own efforts are contributing to the success of the team? A team working without goals, is like a ship traveling without a sail. It lacks direction and it will not get very far.  Goals are crucial to teamwork as they set direction and increase both engagement and commitment among the team. Today we are going to discuss some goal-setting strategies that you can use to set your team up for success.

  1. Determine what your team needs/wants to accomplish.

As a team leader, you will need to have a clear understanding of your goal. Ask yourself some of the following questions to gain a clearer picture of your team’s goal.

What do we need to accomplish? What do we want to accomplish? What does success look like? What are the implications of this success? What greater objective does this work contribute to? How do you measure success? How can you evaluate progress?


  1. Engage your team in goal setting.

Once you have brainstormed your goals, incorporate your team into the goal setting process. When team members are involved in goal setting, they often are more motivated, engaged, and committed. Involve your team in the process and coach them to set SMART Goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely).  In addition to SMART Goals, ensure the goals that your team decides to set align with both your overall team objectives and with the objectives of your broader organization.


*Tip- Once your team has chosen SMART goals that align with your broader organization, write them down. Goals that are written down are more likely to be achieved.


  1. Create an action plan. After your team has worked together to determine goals, create an action plan for achievement. At this point, your team must work together to create a road map for success. Your goal needs to be broken down into much smaller actionable items. You will also need to determine how to evaluate the progress of your efforts. Each team member should leave this stage knowing exactly what they must do next for the team to be successful.


*Tip-Your action plan must include deadlines. Deadlines are crucial to keeping your plan progressing. Deadlines keep team members accountable, organized, and committed.


  1. Track progress and acknowledge milestones. Once deadlines have been set and the action plan is in motion, follow up is crucial to the success of your team. Your team will need to check in regularly to evaluate its efforts, to check progress, and to hold each other accountable to deadlines. At this stage you will also evaluate your action plan and adjust as needed to accomplish your goals. It is important that communication remains open and consistent across all team members during this time period.


*Tip- Teams view progress as accomplishment and this is crucial to keeping moral up along the way. Set milestones and be sure to acknowledge the progress of your team. Something as simple as a thank you or a quick recognition at your next meeting can keep your team motivated when times are challenging.


  1. Leadership remains committed until the end.

Leaderships’ involvement is crucial at each stage. A leader’s work does not end after the initial goal setting process. A leader’s continued dedication and commitment to the goal is crucial to the team’s overall success. Teams want to see leadership demonstrate commitment to the goal. Team leaders should remain open to questions and demonstrate that they will do what it takes to support the team and the individual team members. One-to-one check-ins are a great way to ensure communication is open and all team members are committed. Once the work is finished, be sure your team takes the time to learn from the experience and to celebrate their success!

Now you have the framework to set clearly defined goals, engage your team, develop your action plan, and remain committed. These strategies are simple to implement yet can have a major impact on your team’s success. Put them into practice and transform your team from good to great!