Goal-setting is something we rarely consciously think about. Goals can easily be ineffective, and when they are, they are close to worthless. But when we set goals with a couple of helpful guidelines in mind, they increase our performance considerably. How, then, should we formalize the goals we want to achieve?
We are often told to “do our best” before a big exam, interview, or work project. According to psychologists studying the goal-setting theory, this is ineffective. First of all, goals should be difficult and specific if we want them to increase our performance.
For example, if you coach a football team, instead of encouraging your team to “make goals” or “do your best” during a game, you should instead say “make 2 goals during the first 45-minute half of the game”. As long as the team knows that they have the necessary skills to achieve this, they will be more motivated and know exactly what is expected of them.
Specific and difficult goals have been researched extensively in psychology, especially in regard to individual goal-setting. Keeping those two words – specific and difficult – in mind when writing down your goals should already help you raise your performance to the next level.
If you work with a team, there are a couple of additional so-called moderators that will help you support your goals in a team context:
To learn more about goal-setting, you can research “goal-setting theory” by “Locke & Latham”. This is one of the psychology classics of the goal-setting topic and has lots of research done on top of the original studies, so it has aged very well.
These frameworks are some of the foundations that Talbit is also built on, so feel free to reach out if we can help you set up a talent development framework for your organization.
Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (1990). A theory of goal setting & task performance. Prentice-Hall, Inc.