Setting objectives for your team a simple guide

Deploying objectives in a department

Objective setting is a vital part of appraising and managing employees. Both managers and subordinates should be aware of what the objectives are for the current period as well as be working on new draft objectives for the next period prior to discussing them during a future appraisal meeting – where objectives for the forthcoming period can be documented and agreed.

How to set objectives:

A Manager will have her own set of business objectives and it is the responsibilities of staff to support her in achieving these. Staff should make sure that their manager communicates the objectives to the team and from this they should then be able to define their own goals contributing towards the overall team’s success.

The first task is to identify the results that you as a staffer are responsible for achieving rather than the actual work activity leading to those results. Where possible attempt to quantify or include a definite assessment point like a sign-off when successful completion occurs.

The following are examples of possible required results:

* Project delivered on or under time and within budget
* The delivered signed of business case of the project
* Reduced operating costs of the department
* New sales at the required margin
* Reduced call stack on the service desk
* Improved service levels
* Positive feedback from customers
* Increased profit margin
* Reduced expenses

Then you will need to consider the key elements which show how the objectives will be achieved and what changes in behaviour or action is needed to deliver them. Try to ensure that the objectives represent clear business related targets that contribute to your organization’s success. Wherever possible the objectives should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound. Qualitative measures are also good and achievement can be confirmed from interviewing customers for example or by discussing performance with peers. The important point is to come up with an approach that enables in a clear way to demonstrate that you have by your action achieved the set goals.

Sample Business Objectives at staff level:

Ten new customers at an average contract value of will be signed in the next quarter
Sales of $100,000 of extra service revenue in the financial year from additional requirements
To reduce in the number of calls on the call queue outstanding by more than 5 days by 50% in three months.
To respond to a request for change within 5 working days from receipt of documented change note.
Increase the hit rate on customer enquiries to closed deal to 25% of all leads in one year.
To score ‘satisfied’ to ‘very satisfied’ in all post project assessments in the year.
To complete all invoicing to customers by 5 days after the month end close.


So what kind of leader will you be?

These days, you get dozens of results by searching for “leadership” and “economic crisis” on Google. The same happens when searching for “leadership” and “downsizing”. The general consensus is clear: during challenging times, individuals look to their leaders for inspiration, guidance and reassurance. But leaders are also the first to be blamed when things go wrong and people start losing their jobs.

The Telegraph suggests that the “Financial crisis calls for confident leadership”. Similarly, the Washing Post informs that a “Financial Crisis Offers a Study in Leadership Styles”.

It seems that Leadership is, yet again, at the centre of anything that is good and bad when it comes to the heart of the business. Lack of courage, reckless decision making, greed and dishonesty are some of the sins that leaders of today are said to be guilty of.

So what should leaders do in these critical times? The economic downturn is the ultimate test for those in charge and only the individuals that are most equipped with skills can maximise their chance of keeping their seats until the end of the rollercoaster ride. On the positive side, however, it is known that Leaders need not be responsible for their own demise. Through coaching and the development of self-awareness, leaders can learn how to avoid over-extending themselves and be able to make a conscious decision to not “cross the line” when compromised – the line that takes them to the unpopular side of business.

Leaders of today may not be the leaders of tomorrow. Much of the territory we are exploring today is of an unchartered nature. And perhaps, through a Darwinian lens, we may hypothesise that only the fittest, the strongest and the wisest may able to survive. We also suggest flexibility and adaptability as essential skills for effective and successful leadership.
And ultimately, of course, the building of self-awareness through coaching and development.

So, what kind of Leader will you be?

Andrea Facchini

Business Psychologist

Mentis Consulting Limited
1 Lyric Square
London W6 0NB
United Kingdom

T: +44 (0)870 487 3100
M: +44 (0)75349 06322
F: +44 (0)870 487 3101