Employee loyalty Leadership and motivation with SMART goals: 4 X 5 Steps to a perfect target agreement discussion

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"No wind is favorable to those who do not know where to go." Nowhere is this quote more aptly placed than in terms of employee and corporate management. Because if you want to see results, you first have to define a goal.

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Here writes for you:


Michael Lorenz Michael Lorenz

Michael Lorenz is managing partner of grow.up. Management consulting.



From the author:




Target agreements - An instrument for everyone?

No doubt, goals are important. In order to achieve your goal at all, you should not leave anything to chance, but to make clear agreements with your employees. SMARTe aims to set goals and step by step.

“Mr. Schulte, I expect you to successfully complete the project by the end of the month!” Does this seem familiar to you? Many executives are still of the opinion that the best way to motivate their employees to achieve better performance is with clear announcements from above. But not everyone is happy to be presented with fait accompli. This is where target agreements help, which focus on communication and a joint coordination process.

Not for low-performing employees

This is true, however, only for the employees, who are capable of realizing the target state from their abilities, their experience and their motivation, then to agree on the goals reliably, and this is the important point - to achieve their own responsibility.

Weaker employees are not helped with a goal agreement. And then, in reverse, you will not. For the beginning, set yourself first to task assignments and slowly approach yourself.

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With the right employees a win-win situation

With the right employees, a goal agreement has many advantages - for both sides. It is not for nothing that target agreement meetings are considered to be one of the most effective and important management instruments.

Your Coworkers:

  • gain insights into the goals of the company and recognize their own contribution to success,
  • shape that Company actively involved and therefore feel closer to him,
  • are more motivated to achieve the agreed targets on their own,
  • have regular success in achieving their goals,
  • in the end enjoy increased motivation and satisfaction.

You as a manager:

  • are intensively discussing the potential and wishes of your employees during the discussions,
  • can assess the competences of your employees more closely and use them accordingly,
  • foster the independence and results orientation of your employees and have an objective, measuring instrument for employee development,
  • can directly discuss and correct possible misunderstandings,
  • avoid destructive mood that will haunted you after the results.

In 5 steps Objectives SMART formulate - so it goes

You've almost certainly heard of the SMART formula. This is a five-part scheme that helps you formulate and pinpoint your goals so that the desired results can be achieved.

This is because often it is not the competences, abilities or the motivation of the employees, but the agreement itself. If no results are apparent, the goal agreement was probably too imprecisely defined or simply incorrectly formulated. This is where the SMART method works:

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  1. Describe specifically what should be achieved: Cross out “approximately”, “approximately” and “approximately” from the vocabulary of the target agreement. If you cannot define a goal exactly, it cannot be achieved.
  2. Determine measurable goals: Only if a target is measurable can it be determined whether it has been achieved at all.
  3. Attractive goal setting: It is especially important that you do not overstate or challenge your employees with the objective. Both have a massive impact on motivation. And indeed negative. If your employee can identify with the agreed goal, he will also try to achieve it.
  4. Realistic Objective: This point follows on the one hand the previous one. In addition, there are other factors that are crucial: for example, that your employee has the necessary resources, materials, and sufficient time to produce results.
  5. Scheduling: The goal of a goal is to achieve the goal. This only works if the target line is known. When will the results be available? Please contact your employee for a suitable processing period.

Well agreed is already half reached

If you are working along the five points of the SMART method, you are already well on the way to a working target agreement. It is important that you work out all five points together with your employee and, if necessary, agree on compromises. Therefore, make sure you have enough time for the conversation!

One to one and a half hours should definitely be planned in order to be able to approach and discuss each point in peace. And I mean really undisturbed: turn off your smartphone, redirect telephone conversations, and ask colleagues to refrain from personal inquiries during the meeting.

Furthermore, the following is true: not only the goal agreement counts, but also the way there, thus the conversation per se. Make it clear that the call control is yours as a leader. It is therefore your responsibility to address all the key points, not to deviate from the topic and if necessary again to explain individual points in more detail so that a real commitment can occur.

The following points help you to make solid target agreements:

  1. Discuss the company and department objectives with your employee. The employees' goals should be derived specifically from you, so that your employees can establish a direct link between their contribution and the company's success.
  2. Ask about the goals of the employee and then talk to him about the goals they want to achieve together with her or him.
  3. Discuss supportive measures to promote target achievement.
  4. Make appointments for intermediate balances in order to be able to intervene or help if necessary, if it does not go as planned.
  5. Keep all appointments and agreements in writing. Then you and your co-worker sign the document and receive one copy each. Thus, all goals and deadlines are clearly listed and can not be forgotten.

If the goals are not achieved

Even if nobody likes to talk about it, sometimes goals are not achieved despite all efforts. It is important that you then do not condemn, but instead take the time to evaluate the reasons together.

Once again, dialogue is at the forefront, because the essential benefit lies in the review, in the discussion. Was it due to too high or too low a goal formulation or was the timeframe simply not chosen appropriately? Use these insights to share with your employees.

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It is important to keep the following in the back: The SMART formula is not a linear system. Rather, your work and the resulting experiences make them more mature and precise. This enables you to optimize the process of the target agreement and thus the success of your company individually!

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