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Why Goal-Setting Systems Have to Be Simple

You want your employees to use it, don't you?

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When I start working with a new team, the first thing I do is see how their internal processes have been run so far. Then, I’ll try to throw as much of it as I can out the window.

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I believe most systems can be made less complicated and time-consuming. That means I usually end up implementing a completely new approach to both setting goals and tracking work. And that is what you should do in your team as well. Right now. Trust me.

Related: To Be Your Most Productive Self, You Need to Set the Right Goals

Letting go of the old.

The main worry you will have adopting a new goal-setting system in your company is whether your team is going to start using it. It's an understandable concern. If employees will not use it, what's the point?

Unfortunately, you can’t force people into using a goal-setting methodology. Building a habit of reporting takes time, and employees must be open to it. That's why it is vital that any goal-setting system you use is as simple and easy-to-understandable as possible.


The easier the goal-setting system is to understand, the more likely it is that most of your employees will start using it. But in addition to the methodology, the internal process you set up to monitor and review your progress, must be as simple as possible as well.

You need to make sure your employees don’t waste a lot of time filling in reports -- and you don’t spend all your time reading them.

Related: How to Set Career and Financial Goals You'll Actually Achieve

Build your mindset.

As a manager, you need to look at why you are setting goals. For me it's to “make it clear to everyone where we as a team (or company) are heading and how each of us contribute into us getting there.”

This consists of two parts. First, you need to set goals that are easily trackable. I use the OKR goal-setting system, a system made popular by Google and John Doerr. "Objectives and Key Results: The Book" says that “OKRs, on a personal, team and company level, make up a system that shows how everything one person does connects to the work of others. If an employee knows that not meeting his goals makes achievements harder for people in other departments, they will want to try harder. When everyone knows how their work matters, it increases overall engagement, motivation and determination.”

Tracking your goals. 

Second, you need to track those goals each week. The best methodology for that is weekly reporting with the PPP - Plans, Progress, Problems, methodology. It is simple enough that I've been able to use it in both project-based work with a small team and running a bigger marketing department.

In short, PPP means that each employee sets three to five weekly plans, and when they get done, moves them to progress. This allows me to read short, clear reports every week that give an overview of the important tasks my people are working on and how well are we moving towards our goals.

Related: There Is No Success Without Risk

Goal-setting as a hiring tool.

Once you have a system like that, you can easily explain it to new employees, making it easier and less painful to hire and grow. After all, when you expand and take new employees into your team, you want them to get on board as fast as possible. If your internal processes are simple and easily understandable, that will happen faster.

A simple yet powerful goal-setting system like the OKRs is a clear advantage for your business. It will save you time, make your employees more engaged and turn your company into a desirable place to work. You don’t want to miss out on that, do you?

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