From the Ask Tom mailbag –
My role has expanded recently and as a manager, I am expected to participate in our annual goal setting exercise, including setting expectations for my team. How would you suggest I approach this task? I recognize that communicating context is critical.
Congratulations. Welcome to your new role. Goal setting is actually the second step, not the first in your organizations annual planning exercise. Before you can set goals for yourself and expectations for your team, you have to understand where the organization is going. That always starts at the top of the organization, and, it appears you are now part of that circle.
- S-V – Business Unit President, goals and objectives, 5-10 years, mission, vision.
- S-IV – Executive Managers, goals and objectives, 2-5 years, multi-system integration.
- S-III – Manager, goals and objectives, 1-2 years, single system, single critical path.
- S-II – Supervisor, goals and objectives, 3-12 months, implementation, execution.
- S-I – Production, goals and objectives, 1 day-3 months, production.
- How did the process go last year?
- How were the results of last year’s process stated, or published?
- Can you get a copy of last year’s planning output?
- Is there a schedule for this year’s planning?
- What preparation do most managers complete prior to the planning process?
- What data needs to be gathered?
- Specifically, what formal documentation do you need to produce, as a new manager in your company?
- Does your planning need to coordinate with anyone else’s plan?
- Does your plan need to include budget and costs?
- What has changed during the past 12 months? In your market? In your company? In your department? With your team?
- What changes in the future do you need to be aware of that might impact your plan?
- How will the elements of your plan need to be broken down and communicated to your team?
- When will your plan need to be communicated to your team?
- What feedback from your team will you need to collect in the preparation of your plan?
- What milestones will you track (key performance indicators) to make sure your plan stays on track?
- How often will you review those milestones with your manager?
Each layer in the organization should be thinking about, and asking questions related to context at the next level up. It all starts at the top with Mission, Vision. I hold the Business Unit President accountable for leading that discussion, arriving at and defining some conclusions. Then, toward that Mission, Vision, each layer begins to grapple with defining the tasks and activities (the work) including stated targets for each objective.
The approach, for you, will be to get your arms around the way your company expresses itself in these cascading sets of goals and objectives. Some companies are very formal, some informal, some are loose. Speak directly with your immediate manager.
That’s probably enough for now.
That’s great advice from Tom. To generalize, don’t be afraid to ask questions. The fact that you are asking them means you are looking ahead. That’s what they expect from you in the new role.