The Ultimate Guide To Setting Goals At Work

If you fail to plan, your plan to fail…it’s that simple!

Setting goals at work is one of the 10 principles of motivational leadership. It is very important for all managers to set a realistic goals at work for their subordinates/team and then go for it! People are inspired when they work for a manager with a purpose. As we discussed in the setting personal goals section of the website, goals must be achievable, but as a management style it can be very motivating when managers set higher goals. There is always the risk that you might not achieve them, but this does not matter as long as failure is not a continual re-occurrence. Continual failure will cause loss of credibility and will almost certainly affect people’s belief that they can achieve future goals.

When you are planning a project at work, you should start off by attempting to answer questions such as these; “Should we attempt this task?”, “What is the most effective way we can get this project done?”, and “How can we overcome any unexpected difficulties with the resources at our disposal?” Effective planning will help stop you from falling into the trap that the majority of people fall into; that of working incredibly hard, yet achieving incredibly very little! It is true to say that effective planning and setting goals at work will almost certainly result in success in whatever it is that you and your organization wants to achieve! When apply the planning process in your job, you will:

Avoid wasting time

It is all too easy to spend large amounts of time on tasks that either do not add value, or are simply irrelevant to the success of the project. In addition, you can miss deadlines by failing to correctly assess the order in which projects should be carried out. Effective planning will help you obtain maximum leverage from your efforts

Focus on all the issues rather than just the critical ones

By properly applying the planning process, you will ensure that you are are aware of all the implications of going through with the proposed project/task. In addition you should, in theory at least, be prepared for all reasonable eventualities

Gather the resources needed

Gathering the resources needed to accomplish the project will ensure that it will not fail or suffer from a lack of required inputs

Carry out the project in the most efficient way possible

The planning process will impact on the efficiency of the project. This should ensure that the organization conserves its resources, avoids wasting ecological resources, and increases profits.

Planning and setting goals at work will help you to:

  • Understand your current position better.
  • Identify exactly what needs to be achieved.
  • Detail precisely and cost projects.
  • Assess the impact of your plan both internal and external stakeholders.
  • Evaluate whether the cost, effort and implications of achieving your plan are worthwhile or not.
  • Consider the control mechanisms that will need to be implemented in order to achieve your plan and keep it on course.

Why Do People Avoid Planning and Setting Goals at Work?

Individual avoidance of planning and setting goals at work

People can be resistant to the idea of planning and setting goals at work for the following reasons:

Fear of failure. By not taking action there is little to no risk of failure unless a problem is both important and urgent. Generally, if you want to achieve something of value then there will always be some risk of failure.

Experience. As managers become more experienced they may rely less and less on formal planning tools and techniques. This may be appropriate, however, it is easy to overestimate experience. Time spent planning and setting goals at work is rarely wasted and often the mark of professional.

Lack of commitment and resistance to change. Some individuals may not see the benefits to planning and they may believe there is little to no point to the planning process. They may also be hostile to change and want to maintain the status quo.

Laziness. Some individuals may simply be to lazy to devote the time to planning and setting goals at work.

Bad experiences of planning and setting goals at work

Some individuals may have had a bad experience, or even a number of bad experiences, with planning where the plan was long, rigid, and impractical. Planning, like any management tool, can be executed badly – done well though, it is highly beneficial.

Organizational Issues

Poor reward structure. Many organizations expect employees to achieve success, yet fail to reward it. These same organizations will generally punish employees when failure occurs through lack of promotion prospects or redundancy. This results in a situation where it is preferable for the individual to do nothing, or as little as possible, and thereby not draw attention to themselves, rather than to risk trying to achieve something, fail and be punished.

The ‘get stuck in’ culture. Some organizations oppose planning and see it as a waste of time. This is generally the case where an organization is doing a very simple job, or where the managers are so experienced that they do not see the value of planning and setting goals at work. This approach is detrimental to inexperienced staff as they do not get to experience the benefits of planning, and will likely result in a greater workload being placed on the more experienced managers.

Opposition to the time and expense of planning. Time spent on planning and setting goals at work is an investment of time. Some organizations are culturally opposed to using their resources for such an investment. In some situations this many be an appropriate strategy, but in most cases it can be seen as short-sighted at best.

Firefighting. Some organizations are so deeply embroiled in crisis management and short term concerns that they do not have the time to make any long term plans.

Arnab Ghosh

My name is Arnab Ghosh. I have been working as a Corporate professional for the past 19 years. After completing my graduation from City College {University of Calcutta}, I started my career with R.S.Software India, followed by Vedika Software Pvt.Ltd. Have worked with industry giants such as Convergys, Satyam Nipuna Services, Wipro BPO, Tata Teleservices Limited, Aircel, TaxiForSure, Brainware University among others. I am a certified trainer from Aircel Academy – Manager As a Coach & Trainer. I have also completed certifications from TBO Academy & Alison Education in the field of “Soft Skills“, the knowledge of which I apply to my students at my University regularly. I have also successfully completed “The Fundamentals of Digital Marketing” certification from Google and “Digital Marketing Course” from TBO Academy. I was awarded “Google Analytics for Beginners” certificate by Google after successfully completing their course. I have achieved CEFR level B2 (Upper Intermediate) in a test of English proficiency from the British Council English Score. I am a bundle of drive, energy, commitment, and dedication and firmly believe in living my life in my own terms, be it working my heart out to achieve business targets or enjoying my spare time doing things that give me joy and feelings of contentment. My hobbies include reading books & listening to music and blogging. I sincerely believe that one should never lose focus in life and that one has to put in a lot of hard work & effort to reach the top.