Goal-Setting Collaboration: A How To Guide for Managers and Employees


 Goal-Setting Collaboration: A How To Guide for Managers and Employees

How many of your employees and managers know the direction the company wants to go? How well do they understand the company’s short term and long terms goals?

David Witt, of Blanchard LeaderChat reported that only 14% of employees have a good understanding of their company’s strategy and direction. If only 14% of employees understand the strategy and direction, the majority of employees are spending time and effort without knowing how their actions contribute to the future of the company.

As a leader looking around your organization, can you confidently say your teams know what you want to do next? If not, a formalized goal and objective setting process can help.

A “formal process” doesn’t have to be daunting or elaborate. All you need is a structured way to communicate goals, organize priorities, and document a plan. Check out this free template for goal setting and development planning. Along with the tips in this article, it will help you drive collaboration between management and individual contributors.


The best way to improve is to start small. It doesn’t need to be adopted by the whole organization to make a difference. You can use the template to have a conversation with your manager or your team about goals and objectives.

Dan Feliciano of Fast Company defined the difference between goals and objectives: “A goal is where you want to be, and objectives are the steps taken to reach the goal.” He expands on his definition of the two, stating that goals are a broad, general, tangible, and descriptive statement, while objectives are the actions that must be taken within a year to reach the strategic goals. In essence, both are needed to fulfill a vision.

In the rest of this article, the term “Goal-setting” will be used to describe the process of forming goals and objectives. Goal-setting at all levels of the company can clarify business priorities, move the team forward in the direction you envision, increase results and increase employee satisfaction–if implemented correctly.  

But as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry famously wrote, “A goal without a plan is a wish.” We say a goal-setting process without a plan or procedures is a futile exercise. There are many different steps that a manager can take to ensure that their employees not only understand company goals but also understand how their own individual goals fit into the larger picture. We’ve laid out a few steps and tips to ensure that you set yourself, your employees, and your company up for success.

It starts at the top
A goal-setting process starts at the top. While most agree that setting goals at the executive level, then setting goals at the next level of management, and so on until you reach employees (called cascading goals) does not work, goal-setting still begins with a clear overall vision for the company objectives. Each group can then ask:

How do our roles fit into this vision?
What are we going to do to help move the needle towards achieving this vision?
What skills do I need in my position, now and in the future?

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