Team Goals are the Glue that Hold a Team Together

Posted by Kristin Arnold on June 13, 2023

team goals

Team goals provide the team with needed focus and direction.  An all-encompassing vision or simple, well-defined goal statements provide the team with a unified sense of what is important. 

To set clear team goals:

Agree on a Time Frame.  Three, six, nine months, or a year are good time periods.  I like to use holidays as the endpoints: New Year’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Fourth of July, or Labor Day.  Then you have two reasons to celebrate!

Brainstorm.  “What should we have accomplished by then?”  Ask each person to write each idea on a separate stickie note.  Remind the team that all ideas are valid.  After a few minutes, ask the team to call out their ideas and place all the stickies on a flipchart.  

Sort Silently.  Ask the team to move the stickies into clusters of similar items — without talking.  If you disagree with where someone puts a stickie, simply move it!  Within a few minutes, the team quickly organized the brainstormed items into three to seven categories.

Create a Header.  For each category, ask the team to create a “header” — a word, phrase, or statement that captures the essence of all the stickies in that category.  Sometimes, an “oddball” stickie doesn’t quite fit.  That’s okay — the team can move it to another category or just leave it alone.  When finished, write all the “headers” on a new flipchart.

Look at the Big Picture.  Take a moment to look at the new header flipchart.  Do the headers make sense?  Has your team covered all the main goal areas?  Should some headers be combined?

Create a Goal Statement.  Take each header and create a SMART goal statement that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented, and Time-dimensioned.  A good format to use is “We will be/have/become (a specific result) by (date).”

Identify Major Steps.  Using your stickies, identify the major steps to achieving each goal.  Go through a “sifting” of the brainstormed items: Does the item contribute to achieving the goal?  Does it come before or after the other major steps?  The result is a linear timeline of what needs to be done to achieve the goal.

Assign Responsibility.  For each goal and major step, ask for a team member to be responsible for completing that step.  Spread the wealth so no single person has the load.

Identify Resources.  Resourcing can be an issue for more complex plans.  For each major step, identify what resources (time, people, money, equipment, material) will be needed.  Look for the linkages (two-fers and three-fers) where the same major step occurs in two or three goal areas.  These are your high-leverage activities.  In some cases, the timeline will need to be adjusted or the costs will simply outweigh the benefits.

Follow Through.  Now that you have your plan, just do it!  Periodically come together and review the status of your plan.  Congratulate yourself on your successes and modify if necessary.  Remember, the planning process is just as important (if not more so) than the plan itself. Slow down and plan it right so your team can implement the plan and take advantage of opportunities that complement the plan and help the team achieve its goals. 


Related Articles:

Use This Process to Make Your Goal a Reality

Build a System to Follow Through on Team Commitments

Define Roles and Responsibilities with Clarity

KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CSP, CPF|Master has been facilitating meaningful conversations between executives and managers to make better decisions and achieve extraordinary results for 25+ years. She's a leading authority on moderating panel discussions and passionate about finding the perfect olive to complement a vodka martini.

Skip to content