Unlocking 3.5x Improved Performance: Getting Started with Goal Setting and Tracking
One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree.
“Which road do I take?” she asked.
“Where do you want to go?” was his response. “I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat “it doesn’t matter.”
~ Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
The Roadmap for Progress
At Align, we constantly preach the value of recorded goal setting and tracking both internally and as we guide our customers through the implementation of strategic goals in their business. We live by Peter Drucker’s timeless quote that “What gets measured gets done”.
We’ve seen goal tracking consistently work in the companies who implement it well. In the nearly 2,000 companies that have used Align to manage their goals, we see a 2x increase in productivity on goals in the first year alone. Other studies confirm the effectiveness of goal setting and tracking. Deloitte research shows organizations that facilitate effective employee goal setting were four times more likely to score in the top 25 percent of business outcomes.
In our conversations with businesses looking grow successfully with goals, we’ve seen that most companies recognize the importance of setting goals to drive their business forward, but struggle to understand where to start. “What goals should we track?” “How should goals be effectively written?” “How do we ensure goals stay front of mind” “What system should we use for setting and tracking our goals?”
We set out to answer all these questions and more in our new eBook, “Quick Start Guide to Goal Planning and Tracking”. Our hope is that after reading the guide (~15-20 min read), the reader will have actionable insights to successfully implement goal management in their organization.
We include learnings from our experience working with customers on their goals as well as insights from thought leaders and top researchers in the areas of business performance and growth. The book guides the reader through best practices for writing effective goals, tracking goals to create accountability, and driving success through iteration.
Easy to Start
The biggest challenge when creating a goal-based vision for progress is jumping in and starting. The book covers exactly how to do this and lays out the keys to success and the most common pitfalls when starting with goal tracking and planning.
We combined our expertise with learnings from research by Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan, Deloitte, Verne Harnish, John Doerr, Peter Drucker, and others into the book. A few of the most critical components for effectively pursuing goals covered in the book are:
1. Goals should be written down clearly, measurably, and transparently.
Beyond writing SMART goals, transparency and specificity make it easy to see and share progress on goals. Without a clear structure for what is trying to be accomplished, lack of focus will undermine progress.
2. Goals should be continuously tracked and measured.
According to Deloitte, organizations that review employee goals quarterly or more frequently were 3.5 times more likely to score in the top 25 percent of business outcomes. Reviewing goals continuously is critical to achieving them. As obvious as it sounds, more than half of companies do not review employee goals more than once per year.
3. Goals should be tied to outcomes and adjusted as needed.
Deloitte also found that while 60 percent of senior leaders revised goals during the course of a year, only 36 percent of organizations revised middle manager’s goals accordingly. Consistently reassessing the viability of targets and the importance of goals ensures efforts are aligned and energy is not wasted pursuing irrelevant goals.
What to Expect for ROI
Baseline performance indicates that businesses who successfully implement strategic goals setting and planning in their organizations consistently outperform the competition.
In the research we’ve conducted and collected we’ve seen that setting specific and ambitious goals results in:
- 2X increase in productivity after 12 months using goals (Source)
- 3.5X increase in productivity after 12 quarters using goals (Source)
- 8.5% Increase in sales (Source)
- 6% Increase in Profit (Source)
- 60% increase in goal achievement with up to 80% increase with feedback (Source)
The success that effective goal planners achieve takes practice. Setting goals can be started easily but takes time to master. We’ve tried to reduce the barriers to getting started with this book and provide information to speed up the learning process. We include a catalog of additional resources at the book’s conclusion to assist you on this learning journey.
We also think there’s a lot to learn from the book that can be applied to planning personal goals for relationships, finances, and health. Ultimately driving transparency, accountability, and focus with goals works effectively for turning many different visions into reality.
The first step is to take the plunge by writing goals down and beginning the path towards achieving your biggest dreams. We hope the book helps you do just that!
If you’re ready to get started setting and tracking goals in your business, read the guide or talk to an Align advisor today!