Are Your Team Goals All Wrong?

team goals

Are Your Team Goals Leading To Team Success?

Often times we think of goals as:

  • Getting things done in a systematic approach
  • Going from Point A to Point B or
  • SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely

We can check them off and be proud. While it is true, some goals need to be identified and measured, can there be team goals that just make you feel better about your job, work environment and co-workers?

Yes, there are according to Heidi Grant Halvorson, Associate Director of the Motivation Science Center at Columbia Business School. She says personal or team goals fall into two camps:

  1. Performance Goal: Where you aim to complete a goal, demonstrate your talent or outperform other teams or teammates OR
  2. Mastery Goal: Where you aim to learn or get better at certain skills.

While performance goals are often time and results driven, mastery goals are not. They are focused on improvement over time. They take into account unexpected challenges and setbacks. They focus on the journey, not the destination.

Let me give you this real world example to illustrate my point.

A Personal Example: Running

I used to be a runner and I was obsessed with improving my time every race I ran. I trained often and I trained hard. I ran several 5Ks, 10Ks and two half-marathons. I pushed myself and read several running magazines to improve my speed and my poor body paid the price with sore muscles and creaky joints. I can honestly say most of the races were a blur because I was so focused on my time and winning.

On the other hand, my son and his girlfriend are running the Cleveland half-marathon on Sunday. Have they trained? Yes, some. But they also ran into some unexpected problems including injuries and work schedule changes. Are they still running it? Yes, but they recognize in advance that they will be walking some of it. They are interested in the journey – knowing that they will get to the destination in good order. They are relaxed and not putting any pressure on themselves. My son and his girlfriend know there will be other races with better times.

How Do You Set The Right Team Goals?

First, determine if the goal requires a new skill or not. If it does not, it probably belongs on the team “to-do” list and should not have a reward tied to it. Or maybe just an accolade that the objectives were accomplished on time and within budget.

Second, determine what problems, challenges and goals your team has that require new skills. Does the whole team need to master the skill of listening? Stop adding to office drama? Learn to handle the unexpected better?

Third, set out to establish team goals that work on little improvements. As the saying goes, “Don’t try to improve one thing 1,000% instead try and improve 1,000 things 1%”. I think this is very sage advice. What can you improve 1, 2 or 3 percent?

Fun Team Building with Larry Lipman Can Help

Fun Team Building with Larry Lipman is an Atlanta team building company that can help your team reach their mastery goals in a fun, productive way. Larry travels all over the world delivering his message and providing a great environment for your team to learn! Call him at  770-333-3303 and book him today!

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