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3 Proven Methods for Setting Better Team Goals

March 14, 2024
Light Silver
7 mins

Each day brings new challenges and new opportunities for growth. A new week, a new quarter, or a new year each bring a chance to set—and crush—a new team goal or two.

But most teams tend to miss the mark when setting their team goals. Some teams start out too broad, never really setting themselves up for success in the first place. Meanwhile, other teams laser in on a goal with systems that are unsustainable, confusing, or overbearing, leading to burnout.

The beautiful thing? The best team goals not only help your team stay motivated and excited throughout the process, but they also actually help your team accomplish them in the first place.

A good team goal is a game changer. And a good team goal is right here.

What Makes a Good Team Goal?

First, let’s touch on creating team goals that work for you.(You’d be surprised how many teams need a little help in the goal setting department.)

Your goals are your business, and there are plenty of ways to define and set them. But if there’s one goal-setting method to try out, it’s probably the SMART system. SMART goals help you define each aspect of your team’s goal to help you define success and achieve them.


S: Specific. What is your team going to accomplish? What actions will you take?

M: Measurable. What data will your team use to measure the goal? (How well will it be measured? And how much data will you use?)

A: Achievable. Is the goal actually attainable? Does your team have what it needs to accomplish it?

R: Relevant. How does this team goal fit into broader team or company-wide goals? Why is achieving this goal important?

T: Time-bound. How much time will your team have to accomplish this goal? What is the time frame?

SMART goals absolutely rock, and when you land on one, you’ll know it. Here’s the difference between a goal and a SMART goal.

 · Goal: Reduce duration of open customer service tickets by 20%.

· SMART Goal: Proactively review and implement weekly content updates across digital customer touch points, so that the duration of open customer service tickets reduces by 20%.

See what we mean? That SMART goal is *chef’s kiss*. It gives a clear sense of everything your team will need to knock out your goal and free up the customer service team. 

3 Proven Methods for Setting Better Team Goals

So you’ve got a primer on what makes a better team goal. Now let’s chat about how your team can master the art of goal setting.

1. Make Goal Setting a Team Effort

Team goals require a team effort.

Sometimes, goals need to be communicated from the top down. Leadership says X, your team needs to organize around X. But when goals come asa directive rather than a challenge, disconnects can grow—and team enthusiasm can shrink.

Instead, make your goal setting a team effort whenever possible. And you can do this with a team-individual-team approach.

Team: First, go over the overarching goal as a team. Set up that SMART goal framework (or whatever goal structure floats your boat), and discuss the why behind the goal.

Individual: Next, break your team into its individual members. Let them think about the bigger team goal separately, as well as how they can support that goal in their role. You can support this process through 1:1s, or by throwing together a group message as an open brainstorming space.

On Ledger, this step makes for the perfect use of a Stream. Everyone can continue their own individual goal brainstorming, while enlisting their team’s support along the way.

Team: Finally, come back together as a group. Now that everyone’s had a chance to think through the team goal, you can firm up your team’s vision for achieving it. Meanwhile, you’ll have a chance to discuss how each member fits into that goal.

Making your goal setting process a team effort will help keep your team more invested in your goal, while leveraging their expertise. This way, you can all grow together.

2. Regularly Communicate about Team Goals

Goals don’t work when you talk about them twice.

Unfortunately, a lot of teams set their goals this very way. They set a goal at the beginning of the week, quarter, or year. And at the end of that week, quarter, or year, they check in.

Commitment takes regular communication. Weekly check-ins,1:1s, and team dialogue are crucial for successfully getting your team to the finish line. These create opportunities for you to define milestones, provide advice and updates, and let your team support each other. This will also help your team develop an open dialogue around the goal—whether things are behind or right on target.

For example, with Ledger, you could set a recurring Friday morning Zoom with your team, sharing everyone’s progress toward a specific team goal. Sharing your own successes and areas for improvement will encourage them to share theirs, knowing it’s not a one-way street.

And you can use the endless customizability of Ledger’s tags in tasks to create an easy label like “Q1 Goal Summary” so your team can jump back and forth between weeks to find that brilliant piece of wisdom someone shared earlier in the quarter.

3. Create Systems to Support Accountability  

Where some teams come up short on the communication side, others come up short on the accountability side. And both are required to reach a team goal.

Today, inboxes are clogged, teams are dispersed or remote, and achieving accountability feels harder than ever. Fortunately, creating a system that works for your team is a lot easier than you may think. It can be as complex or as simple, as individualized or as broad, as makes sense for your org.

For example, team-wide messaging around a goal might not always need an action, just visibility. With Ledger, we’d suggest leadership post this as a Broadcast or a Poll. You can easily add an extra level of accountability by asking members to vote on a topic or confirm they’ve read it ✅. This helps everyone align around the message—so your goal doesn’t get lost in the wind.

The Secret to Achieving a Team Goal

It’s time to stop ignoring the team part of team goal. Each team goal you set is about teamwork, and harnessing the potential of the extremely awesome group of individuals who bring out the best in each other.

Hopefully, you’re starting to think about team goals a little bit differently now. They’re more than just an idea, and they’re more than some Herculean effort.

They’re an opportunity to go faster and farther together. Take advantage of that opportunity, and there’s no telling where your team will go next.

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