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Each year I try to set out a few business and personal goes for myself but I don’t really share them with people. So this year when I put my goals together I shared them with my entire team of ten people. Business goals included things like creating 5 new products for Future of Work University and hitting certain revenue goals for my business and for the Be Your Own Boss Podcast that I started with my wife Blake.

Personal goals included things like spending more time creating content and less time reviewing content, having fewer meetings, and playing some over the board chess tournaments. My team and I also went over team goals such as coming up with more creative content ideas and everyone being more autonomous in how they work, meaning if they have an idea for something, they should just run with it instead of asking me about it.

Having team goals especially sets the tone for your future work and where you’ll go as a group (and as a leader, professionally and personally).

Here are five tips to setting effective team goals that I have used:

1. Look towards the future.
Where do you want to be in three or five years, both individually and as a team? What do you hope your team will have achieved? Work backwards to set goals that will help you reach where you want to be. Decide on steps you need to take to put you on a path to future team success.

2. Set a vision.
What is the overall purpose and mission of your team? Keep that in mind when setting goals. It can be tempting to move the team in another direction or work on tangential goals, but team goals should always tie back to the overall vision. With the purpose and vision as your guiding force, it will be easier to get everyone’s buy in.

3. Set individual goals and responsibilities.
The team will have an overall goal, but you also need to break down how that goal will be achieved. Give each person on the team unique responsibilities to meet the goal. Play to their strengths to create an action plan where everyone plays a valuable role.

4. Make it SMART.
This is goal-setting 101, but it’s crucial to the success of team goals. Effective goals are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. It’s one thing to say your team hopes to generate lots of leads this year, but it’s another thing if your team’s goal is to generate three times as many goals per quarter as it did in 2020. SMART goals can be the difference between merely hoping you improve and actually seeing growth and success.

5. Communicate and update.
A goal isn’t effective if it is forgotten after it is set. Make goal updates a regular part of your team communication. Try including it as a permanent item on meeting agendas or having a set day each week to check in with each other via Slack. Regular communication holds everyone accountable for progress towards the goal and improves your chances of actually achieving it.

Setting team goals takes work and communication, but the effort can pay off in an effective team that continues to grow and improve. Use this time of year to reflect with your team and look towards the future. Now more than ever we need leaders to focus on teams and not just individuals. We need to come together to solve problems, identify opportunities, and help each other during tough times.

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If you enjoyed the article and want more content like this here’s what you can do:

  1. Subscribe to The Future of Work Podcast where I interview business leaders around the world each week.
  2. Grab a copy of The Future Leader which has been endorsed by the CEOs of MasterCard, Best Buy, Oracle, Audi, Unilever, Domino’s Pizza, Ritz Carlton, Kaiser, and Marshall Goldsmith. It explores the most essential skills and mindsets for future leaders.
  3. If you are or want to be an entrepreneur then my wife and I just launched a brand new podcast on how to Be Your Own Boss, called the BYOB Podcast where we share what we did and how we did it. You can subscribe to that here.

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