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“Don't mistake activity with achievement.” ― John Wooden
Employees do not achieve their goals because they are busy doing something else!
As a leader, it is your responsibility to ensure that your team spends their time working on the activities which contribute to reaching their targets.
Here are the top 4 reasons why employees miss targets & what you can do about each of them.
Targets were handed to them
Employees feel no ownership over goals that are supplied to them. They don’t feel valued because their contribution was ignored or not requested. One of my favorite Dilbert cartoons is about people asking for copies of the business plan – not because they cared about the plan but because they could see out of the window if they sat on enough copies. These people did not care about the targets other than as a way to sit taller in their chairs.
Involve your team in setting goals, ask for their input. I have discovered that often employees will set the target higher than the leader would have set. This is because they are motivated to hit “their” goal.
There is no link between their day-to-day work and organizational goals
Staff sees the organization goals as something that the executives are responsible for. They do not see their impact on these higher goals.
Discuss the organization’s plan and draw out the connection between what people do daily to reaching strategic targets. Determine if there are things that your team are doing that do not contribute to larger goals – maybe there was once a reason for these activities, but no longer. Ensure they understand how their daily activities contribute to the organization’s goals.
They don’t get rewarded for achieving goals
The clients loved Marjory - she handled requests quickly and always had a smile. However, she tended to ignore the goals on her performance appraisal. Why? Because she felt valued and rewarded by the clients for the services she did for them. She didn’t get that same recognition while working on her other duties.
Find out what “makes each employee tick.” Once you determine the kind of recognition each likes, you can use that when reach milestones towards their targets. I’m not saying you give out gift cards for people who find the coffee room, but recognition or small rewards for working towards their targets.
Their goals don’t reflect the activities they were asked to perform
Mike and his boss built realistic targets at the beginning of the year. In the second quarter, the company purchased another company and Mike’s responsibilities changed to transferring data and processes from the acquired company, and training employees on existing systems. None of these major responsibilities were reflected in the targets on Mike’s performance appraisal. At the end of the year, he was given a bad appraisal because he didn’t reach the goals that were set in January. He quit shortly after.
Change occurs – customers leave, new products are released, reorganizations happen. Employees should be evaluated on real targets – targets that reflect what they are asked to do for the organization. Keep targets updated to reflect reality.
The top 4 reasons why employees miss targets can be fixed by good leadership.
Ask them for their ideas on setting and reaching the targets.
Communicate often with your staff about their targets, team goals and organizational targets. Ensure they know the link between the different levels of targets and how they contribute daily to achieving those targets.
Reward and recognize staff for achieving benchmarks along the way to their goals.
Update targets throughout the year.
Ensure your team members are spending their time on achievement, not merely on activity!
Try the four good leadership behaviors and see what impact that has on helping individuals reach their targets.
Want to "UP" your leadership skills? Contact me Valerie.MacLeod@HainesCentre.com
Photo by Valerie MacLeod
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