• A goal-oriented person or team works hard to achieve good results in
the tasks that they have been given.
• A goal-oriented plan or activity is based on a number of things that must
• Maslow’s hierarchy of needs shows that an individual’s basic needs must
be met before higher needs can begin to influence behavior. Nowadays,
even physiological needs (the base of Maslow's pyramid) are being
influenced by the media and therefore changing the three major
components to motivation: activation (the decision to initiate a
behavior), persistence (the continued effort toward a goal even though
obstacles may exist) and intensity (the concentration and vigor that goes
into pursuing a goal).
In the most simplistic terms, "goal oriented" means you always
have a specific objective or target in mind whenever you
embark on an endeavor to create a productive outcome or
construct a concrete deliverable in your life, in your work, in
your business, and even for your client(s). In the business
and/or corporate world, we call it, the power of vision. At a
deeper level, it's actually the image of success achievement in
one's head as one look towards the future.
Having a vision or a goal (or a set of goals) is imperative to
Vision building, or goal setting and goal achievement for that
matter, is an essential ingredient in living to win.
Among the traits of all the top-performing students in
Singapore, based on my random survey from the early 90's till
about 2003, their "goal orientation" always ranked top.
• Actions involving a person's cognitive abilities in an attempt to solve
problems, resolve conflicts, and gratify the person's
needs to reduce or avoid distress.
• Accomplish chores and duties faster
• Able to complete entire “to-do lists” daily
• Pace setter
• Tendency to become a “blinkers on” personality
• No time to set new goals
• Behavior oriented toward attaining a particular goal. Identified by
observing that the animal or person ceases search behavior and
engages in detour behavior when it encounters obstacles to the goal.
• Setting self up for success
• Sends positive energy into the world
• Goals are dreams with deadlines
• May become too much of a dreamer
• Tendency to set unattainable goals
• Goal-oriented leadership involves setting clear and specific goals
where it is known, based on established experience, that they know
can be achieved. A goal-oriented leader is grounded in knowledge
and a realistic outlook, being aware of the context in which the
organization operates, such as he traditions on which it is based, and
the risks being taken. Goal-oriented leadership may involve
establishing a hierarchy of goals that cascade down the organization,
or a sequence of goals that acts as steps towards a long-term
• Examples of goal-oriented leaders include sales managers, teachers,
sports coaches, or mentors who set a series of challenges to
encourage learning and development. A team sports coach, for
example, not only focuses on the overall goal of winning, but may
also give each member of the team different individual goals. If all
the different goals are achieved, they will combine to improve the
team's overall performance and achieve the collective goal.
• Goal Oriented leaders are introverted and operate from their
senses or feelings. They tend to be goal oriented and teams can
rely upon them to produce the detail that is required to do their
jobs. When teams have goals to reach this leader will cause a
slow-down because their approach is to solve any problem by
creating a goal.
• Executive Leaders organize, plan, coordinate and manage. They
are capable of meshing the right people together in tandem with
the strategic goals of the organization. Their position of authority
creates influence which they use to put frameworks of better
organization in place and performance management systems
which support people’s development.
• Communicate their goals clearly
• Outline tasks specifically
• Issue clear deadlines
• Offer their employees guidance to complete tasks
• Be appreciated by people who don't manage their time well
• Delegate effectively
• Achieve results
• Stymie employee feedback
• Show little regard for employee welfare
• Create a tense work environment
• Squelch innovation and creativity
• Diminish employee morale
• Contribute to employee burnout
• Find themselves wrestling with retention and recruitment problems
Start with the SMART system
• Specific: The more specific a goal is, the better your employee’s chances of success are.
It’s a lot easier to make an action plan for, “increase traffic to online store by 30 per
cent over the next three months,” than “improve web traffic.”
• Measurable: Breaking your employee’s goals down into smaller, measurable elements
helps them to stay on track. Consider these their goal “milestones” to hit throughout the
process (more on that later).
• Attainable: Asking whether a goal is even possible is crucial to the process. It’s fine for
employees to be thinking big, but working toward an unattainable goal is going to waste
time or resources. It can become problematic.
• Relevant: This component is especially important when linking employee goals to that
of the department – and of the company as a whole (again, more on that later).
• Time-related: Every goal needs to have a deadline. These can be linked to review
cycles or another schedule, but they should have a specific time frame in mind.
Align goals with the department and company
• In a recent study on using goals in performance management, Berlin
found that only 36 per cent of organizations have a standard,
enterprise-wide approach to goal setting – which results in
inconsistences in the process. To ensure that the goals of each
employee align with the company as a whole, make sure you
communicate the company’s mandate to all staff, and reiterate during
goal-setting season to ensure that it’s top of mind. Encourage all
employees to link their goals back to the strategic mandate, and to
work with their colleagues to align common goals across department
Create an action plan
• For each goal to be met, it needs an action plan. That relates to the
“measurable” component of the SMART system – creating a list of
milestones that the employee can use to keep their progress on track
throughout the year. Another part of that action plan is ensuring that
each employee has all the tools they need to achieve their goals,
whether it’s an online class, new software, or other resource.
Track with an online program
• There are several systems and programs to help companies, and their
employees, set and track their goals. Companies like Sales Force, Asana,
Confluence, and others, allow employees to set department and individual
goals, and list the milestones they need to hit to get there. From there, they
can share their progress with relevant teammates to get encouragement and
Follow up (and reward)
• Whether or not an employee meets their goals, it’s important that the process
ends with a debriefing of some kind – again, aligning goals with
performance reviews helps to ensure this communication happens, but it can
take place outside this process as well. If goals are met or exceeded, a reward
can engage and encourage top performers, and demonstrate the company’s
acknowledgement of their efforts – whether it’s a shout out at a meeting, a
note of recognition, or a gift of some kind, the effort will send the message
that the company rewards hard work.
• By following these steps, you can put a simple goal-setting process in place
at your company – and, in turn, boost engagement, align strategy, and