viaPeople Insight - Performance Management & Succession Planning Blog

Setting Big Performance Goals in 2012

Posted by Karen Caruso, Ph.D. on Jan 12, 2012 9:52:00 AM

Welcome to the first edition of the Performance Management Monthly.  As you know, employee performance management is one of the most powerful tools that we have to ensure the on-going development of employees and continuous business growth. Each month, the industrial organizational psychologists at viaPeople will recommend resources, share their insight on the latest industry trends, and offer specific suggestions for improving the execution of your performance management strategy.  Subscribe to our blog to receive the Performance Management Monthly via email each month.

performance goalsImagine the Possibilities

2012 is a year of possibilities for me.  I plan to explore new ways of doing things both at work and at play.  As I put the finishing touches on my business plans for the year, I have gained inspiration from many places...to set aggressive goals and continue to find ways to develop the talented people with whom I work.  Take a look at these recent articles for inspiration:

To Achieve Big Goals, Become A Pattern Thinker (Or, How The Cool Ranch Dorito Was Born)

Conversations that Inspire: Creating and Developing Star Performers

Let's Get Started

January is the start of the new performance period for most organizations.  While this time of year can be a time of excitement and renewal for some employees, it may also mark the start of the winter blues for others.  Making sure the employees have a clear understanding of their performance goals is critical to directing energy toward high performance.

I know - you are tired of hearing about goal setting.  I am too.  You can blame me and my  fellow psychologists for all of the hype about goal setting.  However, the research on the effectiveness of goal setting in driving performance cannot be refuted.  We get frustrated by goals when goal setting is done poorly. Motivation, engagement and performance WILL suffer when performance and development goals fall short.

Aggressive is Motivating, Impossible is Not

Have you ever set (or were assigned) a goal that left you frustrated and de-motivated because it was clearly out of reach? The dynamic marketplaces within which we all work require us to set aggressive business goals and ambitious individual performance goals.  'Stretch' goals serve to motivate learning and performance. They cause individuals to think and behave differently.  Exceptional results require aggressive goals. 

When goals are too difficult, the opposite occurs. Individuals are left confused and defeated.  Performance is hindered; self-confidence undermined.   

As HR leaders, we can assist managers and employees in goal setting and alignment by offering practical tools and resources.  I recommend using a structured goal setting framework to guide managers through a collaborative goal setting process with employees. A structured process provides the basis for a discussion on goal difficulty and the resources required to achieve goals.

Download our whitepaper entitled, Six Ways to be SMARTT in Setting Performance Goals, for specific suggestions.  Our version of SMART goal setting includes an extra T as HR Technology is a required resource for ensuring the alignment and tracking of performance goals in organizations today.

Topics: Performance Management, Goal Setting