6 Secrets to Getting Employees to Do What You Want

To succeed, leaders must effectively set, measure and evaluate goals.

learn more about Chris Byers

By Chris Byers

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Your company isn't just going to stumble into success yet many business leaders struggle with effectively setting, measuring and evaluating goals. Done correctly, setting this vision can spark excitement and passion within your company culture.

Here are a few steps that have led to consistent success among our team:

Related: Chart Goals to Create a Road Map to Your Success

1. Set outrageous goals.

As the CEO of Formstack, part of our company culture is that we never want to be happy with the status quo. Instead, we want to set goals that force us to push ourselves. Big goals are inspiring. They invigorate us and give us a new reason to band together as a team. When we set larger-than-life goals, we are recognizing that we need a strong culture of teamwork. We set goals that make us work across departments.

Keep in mind, outrageous does not mean that we set impossible goals. Instead, they require us to push ourselves beyond what we achieved last quarter or last year.

2. Have a written game plan.

When people write out their goals -- personal or business-related -- they are more likely to achieve them. Evaluate your goals by the acronym SMART.

  • S: Set specific, as general ones are useless.
  • M: Make sure they are measurable, as you should be able to tell if you're winning or not.
  • A: The goals should be achievable, or grounded in reality.
  • R: Ensure the objectives are relevant, as they support the organization's overall mission.
  • T: They should be time-bound; the best goals have a deadline.

Leaders need to communicate the value of each of the steps to their employees. When your entire organization is setting SMART goals, you will be able to measure performance.

3. Use analytics to measure along the way.

It's shocking how few businesses are consistently tracking crucial data. Measuring progress along the way can reveal if a company is on course to achieve its goals.

As a software-as-a-service company, we rely heavily on data to determine how our customers respond to different marketing techniques or campaigns. Having a data-centered culture helps us measure as we go.

Related: Be Strategic. Set Aside Time to Select Daily and Weekly Goals.

4. Build strong relationships.

People are the most important component of company goals. Unfortunately, a lot of companies take the human side out of the equation.

Mentorship is a key part of goal setting that you should encourage it at your company. We have a program called "StackFriends, where newer employees meet one-on-one with peers from another department. Whether you are C-level or entry-level, you should have a strong relationship with a mentor.

5. Be willing to have difficult conversations.

Sometimes your team doesn't meet its goals. Some employees may not be performing at the level you want. One part of creating measurable goals is that you'll reveal some departments or people who aren't measuring up. You can't just set goals and never return to them: You must evaluate the results.

When your employees are accountable for their productivity, they reinforce a positive company culture. On the flip side, if people are allowed to slide and are never managed, they are reinforcing a negative culture. Our commitment to strong relationships means that when correction needs to happen, it can happen in the context of trust and goodwill. When we care about one another, correction can happen in a positive way.

6. Cultivate an environment of flexibility.

When we fail to meet our goals, we take the time to evaluate how and why. In addition, our team is empowered to make changes and suggestions. This feedback can help us rethink everything from the structure of our goal to the code we use.

When your team is empowered to problem solve, you suddenly have dozens (or hundreds) of people looking for a better way to do something. Be ready to make changes and give your employees the opportunity to call the shots.

Set up your team to win by setting, measuring and evaluating goals. Building a strong culture shows that your priority is on people. Rely on the measurable data to tell you which direction you need to go. Concrete goals can spur employees to buy into the mission of your company and dig deep to win.

Related: Are Your Stretch Goals Really a Stretch?

Chris Byers

CEO, Formstack

Chris Byers is the CEO of Formstack, an Indianapolis-based company offering an online form and data-collection platform. Prior to Formstack, Byers co-founded an international nonprofit that was built via remote relationships among partners in Europe, Africa and the United States.

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