Tasks and goals are not the same thing. You’d be surprised how easy it can be to get these confused and how often it happens. Tasks describe how people spend their time, whereas goals are the results that they seek.
Confusing tasks and goals can mean that you focus on doing tasks and not achieving outcomes. The problems with this can be:
• You potentially reward activity that does not contribute to your organizations’ goals.
• Your team believes that they are responsible for activity and not results.
• You and your team waste lots of time doing stuff that adds no value.
• The tasks required to achieve a goal will change as circumstances do. If you continue with the same list of tasks. you are unlikely to achieve your goals.
To make sure you don’t confuse tasks and goals here are a few points on how to construct a goal:
The Beginning: Start with an active verb—an action word that implies doing something either now or in the future. For example, devise, introduce, develop, implement, reduce and produce.
The Middle: This is the place for ‘the what,’exactly what it is you want to deliver, develop, produce and so on. It should be written in a way that everyone understands.
The End: Here you set out a specific measure and also a date by which the goal will be achieved.
What effective goals look like:
Effective goals are:
- Recognized as important
- Written in specific terms
- Measurable and framed in time
- Aligned with organizational strategy
- Achievable but challenging
- Connected to increasing revenue, reducing cost, or reducing risk
Three common mistakes you should avoid:
1. Many companies fail to create performance metrics.
2. They fail to align rewards (monetary and others) with organization, team and individual goals.
3. The achievement bar is set too low. An appropriately challenging goal is one that the staff member believes they have a slightly better than 50 /50 chance of achieving.