Over 20 years ago in our moving and storage business, I experienced the true significance of setting measurable performance goals. And I discovered the key to setting performance goals that truly motivate and inspire!
In the local moving division of our business, we asked each individual employee to set some production/quality goals. I was shocked how well our moving crews rallied behind this request to set measurable performance goals. For example, they set goals for the:
- Number of cartons packed per hour per job
- Number of pounds loaded per hour per job
- Number of pounds unloaded per hour per job
- Cost incurred for cargo claims per job, etc.
Originally, every crew-member set goals way too high, until we gave them feedback on their actual performance. We posted up everyone’s numbers so they could see how their actual numbers compared to everyone else.
For you see, they thought they were doing much better than they actually were. And they were really surprised that they fell short of their goals.
Even though we got them to reset more realistic goals, they were so competitive that they did everything possible to beat their current performance numbers.
Insight: If I, as the leader, had set my employees performance goals, they would not have been surprised at their performance. Their focus would have been directed at me, and my goal-setting abilities instead of how they could improve their own performance.
Not only did these measurable goals help our moving crews perform better, they also helped our leadership team identify which crew-members…
- Actually were the most productive, and more importantly, why they were.
- Had the lowest cost of cargo claims, and more importantly, why they did.
- Needed more training.
- Worked best together.
Observation: The employees who had the lowest productivity and the highest cargo claim costs weeded themselves out of our company.
Every leader can motivate and inspire their people by properly setting measurable performance goals.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been writing about preparing…
- A vision statement
- Strategic plans
- Tactical plans
And now it is time talk about measurable performance goals.
Most organizations will see a dramatic increase in employee performance when:
- A collaborative process takes place between an employee and their manager.
- The individual employee effectively sets measurable goals that closely tie to the organization’s overall strategy.
Two recurring questions
Empowering leaders as well as highly-motivated employees will continually revisit two questions:
- What is our goal?
- Are we making progress?
They ask these questions about their long-term strategies, about their tactical efforts, about each meeting they attend, and about such process-oriented matters as their approaches to communication, coordination, and cooperation.
“Activity without purpose is like archery without targets.” – Jim Lundy
How good are your results?
Measurable performance goals are your activity targets with numeric and timeliness measures of success
Measurable performance goals always tied-back to the strategic and tactical plans to ensure that you profitably reach your customers.
Your measurable goals are set in contrast to past performance and to be obtained over a set time, e.g. 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, etc.
They are set by using the SMART criteria and by asking if they are…
- Specific and vital
- Achievable but challenging
- Results oriented
Here are some examples of performance goals that are activity targets with numeric and timeliness measures of success:
- Increase sales by 5% over same period of last year.
- Increase profit by 2% over the average of the prior three months.
- Reduce overtime by 50% by the end of the third quarter.
- Increase billable time to 92% by the end of the fourth quarter.
When an employee measures their progress, stays on track, and reaches their target dates, they experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs them on to continued efforts to reach their goals.
Also, people can work together as an effective team when they have a clear picture of the team’s goals.
And they can maximize their feeling of achievement when they have pre-determined goals – the achievement of which is the definition of success!
What are your goals? Are you making progress? When will you get started? Please leave a comment <here> to continue the discussion!