De compounding effect of aligned goals
From our Vision Forward stand point, we discuss the value of setting the right goals regularly. Especially at the start of a new year, like right now. Goals that are taken a step further than the (bi-)annual goals, and truly give a magnificent vision for an amazing future. The benefit of setting goals like this, is that your brain can apply itself maximally on such goals. However, there is a disadvantage. Such goals can be terrifying in magnitude or ambition. Which is exactly why it’s important to get others involved! But how do you do that? By ensuring that all goals are aligned with each other.
What are aligned goals?
Aligned goals – what does that mean? Well, when your goals and the goals of someone else are aligned with each other, it has a compounding effect. Which can present itself in many forms. An example:
Imagine you’re a new business account manager. Together with your team, you’ve been presented with a team target. Obviously, you have been given your own targets. So far, so good. This is not exceptional. When everybody reaches their own, individual targets, it usually means that the team target is also realized. Oftentimes, the realization of the team target comes with monetary bonus, which is nice.
However! A (purely monetary) bonus doesn’t work as motivating for most as people think. Anybody who has read Drive by Daniel Pink, knows this by now. The logical question becomes then, well, what does work? Get in touch with Vision Forward, and we’ll look at it together!
Extrinsic motivation does not motivate
Let’s say you’re the same new business account manager as from the example above. However, this time, you find yourself talking to your Sales Director, who looks beyond the traditional bonus set up of the department. He starts to ask you questions, and makes you think about what you really want. What your goals are. “Wow,” you think, “nobody has ever asked me that!” You tell him that in 5 years, you want to become a Sales Director yourself. A worthy goal!
Your Sales Director goes deeper: “What is it that attracts you to that role? What will you get out of it, personally ánd professionally? What is the impact you’ll have on your team? Your other colleagues? Your organization? Your clients and customers?”
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
He really puts your brain to work and lets you think about what that role contains, and what you can get out of it. You agree on a goal: If you perform 10% above your individual target, each quarter, you will be presented with structural training and development to enable you to reach your goal, and to prepare you for the role of Sales Director in 5 years. Within the organization, or beyond it.
Herein lies the power of aligned Goals: When you set a Goal for yourself, and others connect to that, it results in a compounding effect. The one strengthens the other. 1+1=3. The benefit is, obviously, that the organization has an energetic, proactive, motivated and happy employee who will do anything to perform above target. With all the short- and long term benefits that come with that. But: You’ll have to invest in his/her future as well.
Aligned Goals: 1+1 = 3
Another great example: A project coordinator for a construction company, 55 years of age, has indicated to his manager that he would like to retire soon. Preferably a few years before reaching the usual retiring date, set by the collective labor agreement.
How do you effectively deal with this? You do not want this colleague to become unmotivated, or working with clients and projects in an indifferent manner. The CEO of this organization found a great solution: He agreed to an earlier retirement for this colleague, but not before he asked him what the financial consequences were going to be for this colleague, should he retire before the official date.
It makes sense that the monthly income, whilst retired, would become less if the colleague would retire early. Yes, that was going to be a challenge, and present the employee with a less-than-desirable situation. So what did the CEO suggest? Yes – the employee would be allowed to retire early. And yes, that would have negative financial consequences for him personally, regarding his income. Obviously, it would also entail some negative consequences for the organization: A replacement employee has to be found, hired and onboarded. So: A compromise!
To ensure that this employee would remain motivated to be as enthusiastic, customer friendly, and qualitative as before, the CEO suggested to supplement the retirement account of the employee. However, not for nothing. This colleague would receive a percentage of every new account or project that he would reel in, from that point forward. And that percentage would be deposited straight to his retirement account.
What effects did this cause? Well, that employee has gone to extreme lengths to seize every opportunity that would bring projects, new accounts, and new projects into the organization. And it worked. In those last few years, he has worked so hard that it not only ensured praise from his co-workers, but it also ensured that his retirement account was supplemented. When he retires, he will be financially very stable.
Of course, it was beneficial to the organization as well. New projects and accounts came in, who otherwise may not have been signed. New clients, new projects. 1+1=3.
What can you learn from these examples?
It doesn’t matter if you’re an Executive, a manager, or an employee. Think about what YOU want, and how can you aligned others to your goals. Ask about the goals of the people in your vicinity. Yes, both personal ánd professional goals. Then – get to work and create situations when 1+1 becomes 3. It will require an investment of time and energy, but you’ll see some extreme fantastic results.
Written by: Stephan Annema
Interested in practical videos on sales, leadership, being an entrepreneur and accelerating your success? Click on the link to subscribe to the YouTube channel of our CEO, Martijn Schaap.