5 Tips for Organizing and Prioritizing Your Team’s Efforts in the New Year

Goalsetting is often very personal. Outside of the office, just think about the hype given to new year’s resolutions — and the commercials that showcase all of the things you, as an individual, don’t do enough of (e.g. working out, cooking healthy meals, saving money, etc.).

And yet, with the internal focus we give to “new year, new me” mentalities, we don’t give enough to understanding how we’ll get from point A to point B. Or, ironically, whether our goals are reflective of our own wants and needs. Now, shift gears to managing your small business team goals in the new year and the likelihood of falling into the above traps increases by the number of people that report to you.

Rather than simply going through the motions, get the new year off to a strong start with these five tips for organizing and prioritizing your team’s efforts.

Get Your Employees Involved in Setting Their Own Goals

To set your employees up for success, there has to be a level of accountability established with whatever it is they’re expected to achieve. Accountability that results from owning the task at hand and understanding why it matters.

After all, it’s hard to work toward a goal you have no sense of importance for. Or one that’s wrapped in arbitrary performance metrics.

Ask your employees to work through setting their own goals with whatever framework your company uses — SMART or otherwise. Then sit down with them to evaluate objectives and their alignment to larger team initiatives, collaboratively tweaking as needed.

Tie Individual Goals to the Bigger Picture

While some of your employees’ goals may cater to individual professional development, the majority are likely working in tandem with larger goals set across the team. This is where documenting and making team goals public benefits everyone involved.

Giving visibility to the goals set for everyone on the team helps draw connections from one to the next. This establishes accountability, knowing that what you do (or don’t do) can have a direct impact on your peers and a company’s bottom line.

Set Reasonable Deadlines

Knowing that the average worker is only productive for two hours and 53 minutes out of an eight-hour workday, being thoughtful about deadlines is everything. Especially when a goal requires picking up a new skill or taking over the reins from someone else.

If your team has tracked time around their efforts in the past, use that to help gauge how long subsequent efforts will take. If you’re starting from scratch, take your best guess at estimations that seem reasonable knowing they can be adjusted once the legwork is underway.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

The quickest way to not hit goals is to set them and forget them. Your team shouldn’t be going through the rigamarole of documenting strategies and objectives only to cast them aside and continue with the status quo.

As a manager, hold regular 1-on-1s with your team to discuss what they’re doing and the success (or lack thereof) that they’re seeing. Create an agenda and set aside at least 15-minutes of every meeting to pull up an employee’s list of goals.

Making a habit of these kinds of check-ins may not always seem necessary in the moment but staying consistent helps you maintain visibility and keep issues from spiraling out of control.

Don’t Demonize Failure

It always helps to keep perspective in the face of setting team goals. Meaning you should know that not everything on your list of to-dos is sure to happen.

Best laid plans are better than no plans though, and strategic intentions will move your team further than “winging it” ever would.

Encourage everyone to work hard on obtaining their objectives but if they don’t, try to understand why before dishing out quick criticisms. You may very well find that the outcomes are out of their control, a fact you can learn from and apply in the future for more achievable goals.

By Staples Canada

January 06, 2020