With the new year comes resolutions and goals, both in personal and professional settings. One similarity between a personal resolution and a corporate goal is the clarity needed in defining the objective.
At the start of a new year, it is common for there to be an increased focus on goals and resolutions. People use the turn of the calendar as a source of motivation to change some aspect of their life for the better. While businesses do not typically label their corporate goals as ‘New Year’s Resolutions,’ there is quite a bit in common regarding things to think of when establishing either type of objective.
First, for a goal to be effective in the long-term, there needs to be clarity around the importance of the objective. Be crystal clear on why the goal matters for everyone involved in its pursuit. This clarity has to extend beyond the person setting the goal; it needs to be a shared clarity of importance among everyone involved in the pursuit of the goal. The leader for the goal owns the responsibility to ensure there is clarity on why the new desired end-state is important for everyone involved. Paint a picture where there is an understood urgency to move from the current state to the desired future state and be specific about why that future state is critically important.
Second, ensure the goal has clarity of ownership. Everyone involved in the pursuit of the goal or the accountability for the resolution should specifically know their role. Talk of goals without assignment of responsibility and accountability will stymie the pursuit of new objectives. Everyone has routines and full schedules; if there is no assignment of ownership for new goals and there is no one being held accountable for those pursuits, the talk will never get traction and the goals will quickly fail. Ambiguity of ownership of key objectives is a certain path for not achieving goals.
Third, goals and resolutions need to have clearly defined success criteria. People pursuing some desired future state need to clearly understand what that future state is and how to know if they are making progress toward the objective while the effort is ongoing. There needs to be some form of scoreboard that both shows current status and allows participants to understand whether the status is favorable or unfavorable to expectations. They need to know what defines success to allow them to properly invest in the pursuit.
If you look at your goals or resolutions for the New Year, and you are comfortable you have excelled in being crystal clear on why the change is important, what roles people need to play in the pursuit of the goal, and what defines ‘achievement’ of the goal, you have a good start on the foundation for making positive change in the upcoming year. If you do not feel comfortable in all three of those areas, spending some time on clarity would be a good investment in better positioning yourself for making those resolutions produce the results you intend.