Measuring and improving goal alignment
The story goes that when President John F. Kennedy visited the NASA space centre for the first time, he asked a janitor, “what is your job here?”. The janitor replied, “I’m helping to put a man on the moon Mr. President”.
This anecdote nicely highlights that a sense of shared purpose can bring people together in a team and enable everyone to feel they are contributing to the larger purpose of the organisation. When we feel connected to a bigger purpose, we care more; we tend to give more, and we tend to believe more in the value of our contribution.
Of course, that’s all very well if you are working at NASA or work in the service of a life changing goal for humanity, but most companies might find it harder to engage and activate their people around their purpose.
In a survey by ClearCompany, 97% of employees and executives believe a lack of shared purpose within a team impacts the outcome of a project, and 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration for workplace failures.
The starting point for most people leaders is to be clear about your organisation’s purpose. Simon Sinek has some great books and video resources for organisations looking to be clear about their purpose and MyPeople friend, Jane Stacey at Ideacake, consults with business to help companies understand their ‘Why’.
But once you have you purpose clear, and you are communicating this well internally, how do set, measure and align your people around this purpose?
Here are our three practical tips for measuring and improving the alignment of your people around a shared purpose using a goal setting, data analysis process:
Firstly, goal setting. You want to marry your company objectives to goals and actions throughout the organisation, to align activity to your purpose. The target here should be to set linked goals within your teams that cascade through your hierarchical structure. By linked we mean, all goals from the top of the organisation cascade down to create sets of goals that connect or depend on each to form a performance chain of goals. For example, if the janitor does not hit their goals, this impacts the goals achievement of those in the office, they in turn are linked to the manager’s goal achievements that ultimately mean the organisation’s goals are at risk of not being hit. In this way you have chains of goals, so that everyone in the organisation can see how they are contributing to the overall goals of the organisation. This in turn creates a focus on groups and chains hitting goals, so that everyone can see how they contribute to the purpose of the organisation.
Secondly, review your goal achievements. Quarterly or every six months, you want to have a clear picture of which goals and milestones are being achieved. This can now be reviewed through different performance goal chains so you can see which goals are impacting each other most. What are the goals dependencies? What types of goals are being hit and which are not? You should be able to see patterns of achievement by departments to see which goals are cross departmental. If Sales miss their goals, how does this impact Customer Service goals? If I.T teams do not hit their project goals what are the implications on other departments and on the overall organisational goals.
Thirdly, use supplemental data to analyse performance chains. If you have a cascading goals approach, you have the opportunity to add supplementary data like personality types of your people, engagement rates, relationships and communication data (we can help here if you do not have this data). If you have personality information on your people and you can under which personality types achieved which goals. If you have relationship and trust data (which MyPeople generate) you can see whether the depth and quality of relationships impact team goal performance (spoiler alert, they do!). You can analyse which job roles hit which type of goals. Understand if financial targeted goals work better than other goals?
From all of this, you can feed what you learnt back into the goals setting process. As your goal setting improves, you will begin to achieve more goals more often and your people will have a clearer picture on how they are contributing to the organisations purpose and successes.
The aim is twofold: for you to be able to understand your company’s performance chain – what is influencing performance, and secondly, for your people to feel connected to the organisations purpose.
As an organisation, this enables you to have intelligence around what the group are good at internally and that in turn, allows you to personalise the experience for the individual, as well as aligning employees professional and developmental goals with the goals of the organisation.