Wednesday 12 February 2014

What Role do Leaders Play in Company Goal Setting?

Checking Out Leader's Roles 

Goal setting will play a key role in growing a business. 

Written by Robyn T. Braley

Part 1; Why Goal Setting, Part 2; The Leaders Role in Goal Setting, Choosing the Team Part 3; The Right Location for Goal Setting Part 4; Formula for Goal Setting Productivity Part 5; Action Plan 

Achieving Your Goals

In this post I focus on the role of leadership in building your brand through Goal Setting. When the economy is topsy turvey setting goals as a team will help bring focus and resolve. Identifying goals and implementing a plan to achieve them will equip your small business to hold steady in turbulent times.

Leaders Have to Be There
Believe it or not, I have known owners who chose not to participate in their own goal setting process. They said, “Let me know when you have something to show me.” 

By not participating, they removed themselves from the context in which the content - or goals – was created. Not participating set their company and them up, as the leader, for failure.  

However, too much owner involvement can also be a bad thing. Years ago I was contracted to facilitate a full day goal setting session for a midsized company. The management team from head office was joined by satellite office managers from throughout the province. We met at the owner’s cottage located on the edge of a beautiful lake.

It was a great day with high quality outcomes and lots’ of laughter mixed into the process. The end of the day saw the entire team sitting on the deck enjoying a barbecued steak dinner backed by a dynamic view including a beautiful sunset.

Unleashing Debbie Downer
Out of nowhere, the manager of the southern Alberta office made an offhand comment to the manager from a northern office. The owner overheard what was said and there was an explosion of – shall we say - fiery observation and analysis.

Talk about a Debbie downer. Talk about sapping the joy from the occasion. A Goal Setting session is your chance to demonstrate your vision in a practical way. 

It is a chance to show dynamic, inspirational leadership. Demonstrating a positive and fun leadership style will rub off on your team. Boiler-plate sessions are excellent opportunities to strengthen employee relationships.   

All About the Journey
The journey is as important as the end result. Participating in the process provides context that will help coach your team along the road to success. 

Knowing how to  praise individuals when they excel, to encourage others when they come up short, or to be forceful when adjustments are needed is one of the attributes of an effective leader.

Great leaders motivate, teach and coach. Coaching is all about inspiring each team member to keep their eyes on the prize through the goal setting and later when activating the plan. 

Leaders who can explain their company vision and the way forward...
  • Attract other people of vision
  • Know that a positive mental attitude is contagious. Team members are infected and become carriers
  • Focus on finding ways to make things work rather than reasons why they won't
  • Stay organized and know how to organize others
  • Listen before they speak
Assembling the Team
Who takes part will depend on your company. If you are the president and sole employee, the decision will be obvious. I’ve never seen that title on a business card…but you never know.

Here is another thought. For single operators or businesses with 3-4 employees, consider including people you respect – mentors, marketers, consultants, book keepers, suppliers or anyone else who might provide valuable input. Invite them for only a portion of the day.

Entrepreneurs are often shy about asking for help. While inviting outsiders requires high trust relationships, they will bring valuable ideas, experience and business or industry knowledge to the table.

Those invited may become evangelists for your business due to having learned more about you and your approach to business.

People Close to the Action
Including the management team is obvious. With larger businesses, including other key employees will encourage buy-in, empowerment and team-building.

I always encourage my clients to include frontline workers for part if not all of the sessions. Frontliners see things differently and often provide solutions overlooked by those further from the action.

In my next post, part 3 of 5, I will discuss the importance of location.   

Your Opinion Matters

Please share your comments below. What have I missed in explaining the leader's role in goal setting? What caused you to think differently?  

Robyn T. Braley is a writer, speaker and occasional media guest. He is the President of UniMark Creative which does website design, video production, media services (editorial and advertising), and graphic design. He speaks at business conferences and also blogs about branding. 


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  1. Explanatory post and interesting information. learned many things after reading this article. Keep Posting. Thanks for sharing.

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