Defining the Right Goals

By A.J. Windle

The Super Bowl, an NBA title, the Stanley Cup: These are all examples of goals that each team within these sports strives for every season. Each represents a purpose for all things leading up to a final achievement. Goals are set by individuals and teams as a means of getting somewhere. But it’s not enough to see the end; you need to build a strong road map that will get you from point A to point B. These plans will contain their own goals and should be well thought out in order to accomplish your vision with maximum efficiency and minimal loss.

Try to imagine for a second sports with no points, no winners, and no losers – just shooting hoops and tossing balls. It might be okay for a while, but with no end in sight, the appeal would quickly die off.

Defining the right goals does not have to be hard. In fact, there are some key fundamentals to keep in mind as you and your organization sets your points of purpose.

Attainable Goals: First, ask yourself, “Is this goal attainable?” One of the things I have learned is that goals need to inspire, motivate, and encourage everyone involved in pursuing your organization’s purpose. Setting an unattainable goal to try to get maximum results can actually have an adverse effect that creates a marked reduction in performance over a longer period. It would be like telling me (definitely not a boxer) that I am going to “KO” boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr., in the first round, or better yet, in any round.

That doesn’t really inspire me much. Can you imagine the look on the boxing coach’s face assigned to the task of training me? The point is that people need to feel confident, inspired, and motivated about a goal that they all know is possible before a project begins. Setting an attainable goal removes self-defeat, drives innovative ideas, and brings a team together in the pursuit of attainment.

Measurable Goals: Although there are many other statistics that go into these inevitable outcomes, the bottom line is that a team is defined by these two things: wins and losses. In sports, wins and losses are measured by points. Without a scoreboard, no one would win and no one would lose. No one would know where he or she stands, and there would be no championship game.

Just like sports, when setting your end goal you should also consider ways to measure the progress of your performance. Make sure you can answer the question “How are we doing” at any point in the game. Making sure that your goal is measurable by smaller supporting goals will help your employees see their progress. It will help you evaluate what is working, what is not, and what changes need to be made to ensure your success.

Crunch Time: Auctions are amazing. If you have ever attended an auction or shopped on eBay, then you have probably paid too much for something trying to outbid the other guy. What made you keep going? Why not just let it go? More than likely it was the urgency of the moment pushing you to action. You wanted that signed Jerry Rice rookie card and it was only available right then. There is no way you were about to lose that war!

Are you ready for one of the biggest secrets of all? This is huge: Set deadlines. Okay, it’s not really a secret, but it is something that can easily be overlooked. This is one of those old sales principles that works astonishingly well for reaching your goals in a given amount of time. Setting deadlines gets everyone who is pursuing the end goal focused on a date. This is a simple way of putting urgency behind what needs to be accomplished and promoting quick execution from all departments and individuals involved in the process.

Before You Begin: Whether you are setting new goals or evaluating old ones, before you begin, ask yourself these simple questions to ensure you are headed in the right direction:

  • Is our goal attainable?
  • Is our goal clear?
  • Does our goal inspire?
  • Does our goal motivate?
  • Does our goal unify the team?
  • Is our goal supported and measureable?
  • When do we want this goal accomplished?

Now, apply these tips to the goals in your contact center.

AJ Windle is senior operations manager at Quality Contact Solutions.

[From Connection Magazine October 2013]

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