11 Ways to Approach Team Goal Setting

YEC (Young Entrepreneur Council) surveyed some folks about how they took on team goal setting. Here are their answers:

How do you handle team goal setting for the year?


1. Brainstorming Sessions

Startups are incredibly dynamic, and the strategy can change yearly, if not monthly. Before we try to set our company-wide goals, I bring our entire team together for a brainstorm. The goal is to diverge (get a broad scope of ideas) before you converge on the few that feel right. We then narrow these down further as an executive team before we try to gain buy-in on the final goals from the entire team.
– Aaron Schwartz, Modify Merch


2. Goal Sheets

This year, all of our employees filled out goal sheets, an idea I borrowed from Creative Nation CEO Beth Laird. It’s a great way to help employees articulate both personal and professional goals, and create shared accountability across company-wide plans. Employees all filled out goal sheets individually, then we reviewed as a team and finalized our shared company goals.
– Brittany Hodak, ZinePak


3. Reverse Engineering

This is very basic. We figure out where we want to go, and then what incremental gains need to be made to get there. I prefer to make a lot of small goals that I will need to hit to get to that bigger goal. That way I will know much sooner if I am on the right track or not before it’s too late. There is a much greater chance that I will meet the larger goal.
– Adam Steele, The Magistrate


4. OKR Measurement

At HelloSign we use OKRs, which stands for “objectives and key results.” This is a model that Google has been using since the early days. The objective should be ambitious and the key results should be very specific. The best part about OKRs is that it allows you to quantify the objectives so that it’s never nebulous whether you’ve achieved your goals or not.
– Joseph Walla, HelloSign


5. Company Off-Sites

For annual and quarterly goal setting, invite your leadership team to an all-day off-site. The meeting need not be expensive. In fact, we’ve held the last few at my home and simply ordered in lunch. Having a full day agenda covering various departments ensured that the day would be productive. We ended with a list of goals and action items that would guide us through the weeks and months ahead.
– David Ciccarelli, Voices.com


6. Check-Ins

It all starts with company goal setting, then historical team and individual performance, and then a frank conversation with the regional or frontline leader. The goal needs to be grounded in past facts, but also take into account growth and market potential. To meet a goal of growing a territory 1,000 percent, you have to arm the leader with the manpower and support to get there.
– Jake Dunlap, Skaled Consulting


7. Starting Large

Before our team works on goal setting, I determine the overall goals for the company. Once those have been determined, I share them with leadership and ask each team to develop goals that will positively impact the company’s overall goals. The goals should be measurable, attainable, and team specific.
– Chuck Cohn, Varsity Tutors


8. Reflections on Past Achievements

In January, we have an off-site management planning session to set goals for the coming year. It’s important to reflect on what was achieved in the past year, what was challenging, what you accomplished and where you are now before setting new goals. Afterwards, you become more realistic with goal-setting because you have more experience and a track record.
– Douglas Baldasare, ChargeItSpot


9. The Slingshot Method

Every team at Grovo uses the “slingshot” method to set yearly and quarterly goals. We look back at the previous planning period and determine what worked, what didn’t work and what we learned. Those insights help us forecast what we’ll be able to do in the next planning period. Teams then craft three goals and 10 priorities that align with overall company objectives.
– Jeff Fernandez, Grovo Learning, Inc.


10. Weekly Meetings

We have weekly meetings where we discuss what exactly “wins” look like. With a clear vision of what we are trying to accomplish for our clients, we’re able to make smart decisions along the way to get there.
– Nina Ojeda, The Avenue West


11. Looking Where You Might Least Suspect

Entrepreneurs do not always make for great leaders and can often find comfort in familiarity, especially when a business starts turning a profit for the first time. Interviewing new staff after three and six months is a great way of gaining a fresh view on how you set goals and whether they are ambitious enough. Achieving a goal requires a team effort, so start by listening.
– Ismael Wrixen, FE International


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Young Entrepreneur Council

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective (http://businesscollective.com), a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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