“If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.” ~ Yogi Berra
You might not know who Yogi Berra is. He is not a management consultant or a world leader, he is just a guy who played for and managed the New York Yankees and received lots of credit for saying things that were often confusing yet wise at the same time. He makes an important point about what a leader DOES.
Leaders facilitate the daily work of the team, with planning, coordination and problem-solving. To achieve, teams need goals, clear priorities and instruction about what to do and help when they get stuck. This is the leaders’ task of DIRECT. A big part of DIRECT is working with a group of people to set goals that are challenging and aligned with the total organization. Without a goal or plan, we will end up somewhere, but will it be where we want or need to be?
So, when it comes to DIRECT why is goal setting so important to what leaders DO?
- It helps sort the “what to do” from the “what not to do.” Goals should be set in a manner that allows for the teams around yours to know what you are doing and to support your choices. Your goals should not be a surprise to your team leader nor your peers. In today’s work world none of us has a shortage of things to do. Alignment of work priorities allows you to say “no” to the work that does not support your goals in the best way.
- It makes it easier to ask for help. Clear, written goals can be shared with peers or key sponsors.
- An end target allows you to set intermediate goals. One of the top motivating factors for people is getting work done. It’s hard to work day after day without feeling or seeing any sort of success. Having both a longer term targets and more immediate goals helps us achieve success and gives us the energy for the rest of the journey.
- It provides a basis for change discussions. Change happens. Set goals provide an opportunity to talk about whether a given change is positive with respect to your current goals, and how your work must change if your goals change.
When we set goals with our teams and create rhythms to measure and review those goals, it is more likely we will be successful in our work. When leaders don’t DIRECT, things still happen, but they may not be the things you want. As a leader, a big part of your work is to DIRECT your teams to achieve the outcomes you planned … and you will wind up where you want to be.