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Leadership Skills #5 - Setting goals and planning

Part 5/10

Team-based goal setting and planning

Everyone want sa strong vision of where they are going, and they look to their leaders to give them this direction. When you are called upon to lead, it is your job to give them this direction. When you are called upon to lead, it is your job to create and communicate the vision to your team - a vision of future success that everyone can share in. It is also a leaders responsibility to help the team make that vision a reality, by setting the necessary goals and planning their implementation;.

In team based or "participative" goal setting and planning, you involve your team in planning its route to the envisioned destination, striving to include everyone in the decisions about getting there.

There are 4 steps to planning the achievement of the vision as a team. The first is to establish the goals. Once this is done, you can agree to the objectives, assign tasks and set priorities and schedules.

 Step 1: Establish Goals
It has been said that "a goal is just a dream with a deadline." and your goal will remain a fantasy unless you and your team members create a plan of action to accomplish it. A team that has been involved in the planning process will be a lot more enthusiastic when it comes to executing the plan

The first step is to establish the goals that will bring about the achievement of the decision. Although these are not measurable, they are more specific than your original vision.
Step 2: Agree to the objectives
The second step is to agree to objectives, again with the active participation of your team. These must be more defined to enable you to evaluate what movement has been made towards achievement of the goal, and ultimately, the vision.
Step 3: Assign Tasks
The third step of the panning process is to determine the tasks which will accomplish the objectives. Tasks are concrete, measurable events that must occur if the objectives are to be achieved.
 Step 4: Set Priorities and Schedules
Finally, the team needs to assign a priority for each of the tasks, so that some kind of schedule can be established. This enables the team to determine the order in which the tasks must be accomplished and by what date.

These four steps allow team members to think about and decide on the goals, objectives, tasks and priorities.

In participative goal setting and planning, you must ask questions to assist team members to generate and assess ideas and to convert them into definite goals, objectives and actions.

Ask questions to get the team thinking about what goals, objectives and tasks will make the vision a reality. To get the most input, start by making these questions as open as possible.

Open questions usually start with:

  • What
  • Where
  • How
  • Who
  • Why
  • When

They can only be answered properly with the relevant information.

When enough ideas and solutions have been generated, ask more specific questions to challenge those that you think may be unworkable. Your aim is to "funnel" the teams input and eventually arrive at a set of defined plans and schedules tat everyone understands and can follow.

Finally, ask closed questions that can be answered with a yes or a no - to get the team to commit to a decision or plan.

Assist your team to assess the feasibility of its ideas by being prepared to share your good and bad experiences. Use your food experiences to confirm the probability of success. Use your bad experiences as evidence of possible failure.

Once the team has agreed to a specific and measurable objective, it is easier to determine essential tasks, prioritise them and build them into a scheduled plan.

The members of a team will take ownership of goals that they have helped to set. With that ownership comes their commitment, and with their commitment comes achievement - for them, for you and for the company.

If you want team members to participate in the goal setting and planning process, you must involve them in making the vision a reality, rather than tell them how to accomplish the goal. In team based goal setting and planning, your role is to led the discussion, not to dictate. Your goal is to help your team to consider the implications of their proposed actions so they can arrive at the mist realistic and potentially successful plan.

have you read the assignment technique module?

     a) Outline the importance of having participation from your cadets when setting goals (4)

     b) Getting input, and steering a discussion can be difficult at the best of times. Describe the challenges you might face when setting up a target setting discussion (10)

     c) Explain how you would use open and closed questions during this discussion. Use examples (10)