goal without plan is just wish

Goals that achieve a greater sense of accomplishment in 2017

Now that you are recharged after the holiday break, consider thinking about (or re-thinking) your organization’s 2017 goals and how you will achieve them. Do you have a good plan in place for the year? Do you feel stuck or vague on what you are striving to achieve? If you feel that YOU are clear, are you sure that those who report to you feel the same way?

Goal setting is all about knowing where you want to go, and charting the steps to get there. Whether you manage a large organization or a small one, you undoubtedly have goals that you want to achieve. Here are six steps to help you set goals and create the steps needed to achieve them.

1. Create a hearty list of struggles you would like to address.
If you have a team, consider creating the list with them. Doing so will help everyone be invested from the start. Once the struggles are noted, narrow the list to 7 or 8 by having each team member vote for their top three. This narrowed list will become the basis for the goals you will set for the year.

2. Create S.M.A.R.T yearly goals to address the 7–8 struggles.

Craft goals using the S.M.A.R.T. format

Craft goals using the S.M.A.R.T. format

Each goal should be a direct response to a struggle, and written using the “S.M.A.R.T.” format (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely). For example, an “un-smart” goal might read, “Create a new training program.” A S.M.A.R.T. version of this might be, “Create a social media training program that will launch by Q3 this year.” The S.M.A.R.T. format lets the team know what “done” means when the goal has been achieved.

3. Brainstorm “bite-sized” quarterly goals.

Brainstorm with team members

Brainstorm with team members

List the actions that are necessary to achieve the yearly goal in chronological order. Then determine which of those actions will be realistic to implement within the three-month periods leading up to when the yearly goal should be achieved. Apply the S.M.A.R.T. format to the actions to create quarterly “bite-sized” goals. Using our same example, the training program’s quarterly goal might be, “Complete an assessment of social media skills and needs of the team by the end of March.” Like the struggles list, consider creating the list of actions across all four quarters of the year with your team members.

4. Assign quarterly goals to your team members.
When doing this, you may want to first ask each member which goal(s) they feel best suited to lead, and let their opinion help drive the decision. Consider that it may be best to have different people lead different yearly goals each quarter. This enables you to take advantage of the breadth and depth of your team’s skill sets, and could help generate a collective sense of success across the team.

5. Hold weekly check-ins.
Spend 10–15 minutes with each team member weekly to check in on their progress against their quarterly goals. This is important to ensure accountability and to give them the opportunity to ask for help if they aren’t progressing. The entire team could—and should—be leveraged to brainstorm how to move forward. But the person leading the quarterly goal is responsible for ensuring that action happens week to week.

6. Conduct quarterly meetings.

Conduct quarterly reviews to track progress

Conduct quarterly reviews to track progress

Meet with each team member toward the end of the quarter to assess quarterly progress toward achieving the yearly goal. This is also a good time to review (or recalibrate) the next quarter’s goals. If you have crafted the yearly and quarterly goals using S.M.A.R.T., determining if the goals are “done” or “not done” should be easy. Although achieving every yearly or quarterly goal may not be completely within a team member’s control, significant progress should be visible after each three-month period.

Good planning is all about knowing where you want to go and charting out the steps to get there. It’s not too late for your organization to create and follow a plan that will guide you to greater success in 2017!


Nancie Ruder Noetic Consultants

Nancie Ruder


Noetic Consultants knows that your ability to articulate your strategic vision then translate it into action—defines your path forward and, ultimately, your success. We provide the experience, guidance and know-how to focus your team and engage them in a collaborative, forward-thinking manner. We can work with you to facilitate structuring your annual strategic plans, setting your organization’s yearly, and much more.