Goal Setting Requires BUY-IN

Human beings are goal-orientated. Human beings need a goal. The goal can be as simple as getting up in the morning or as ambitious as climbing Mount Everest. Goals are critical because goals create three things: energy, awareness and creativity. You’ll struggle to achieve goals if your people are not clear on what they’re trying to achieve, don’t buy in to why you’ve set a goal, can’t tell how they’ve achieved the goal and don’t know who is accountable for the goal.

For goal setting to work best, managers and employees need to work together to set goals that are aligned with organizational objectives, offer the right amount of challenge, and create buy-in from both parties. Managers and their direct reports are equally responsible for goal setting.

The way to establish buy-in is to create a sense of ownership in the affected individuals. Everyone involved in achieving the goal should have some degree of input into the process. Participation in goal-setting helps ensure that the goal will be accomplished because people have bought into its importance and method of achievement. People do tend to support that which they help create.

Winding your team up and pointing them in the right direction with specific instructions may deliver short-term results. But over the longer-haul, most organizations want to develop employees who can think independently, make judgment calls, and respond nimbly to changing conditions. This requires more than a goal; it requires an understanding of the bigger picture, of how work fits into the organizational strategy, and of why the goal matters. When employees have this information, they can navigate the complexity of the workplace and deliver on agreed-upon outcomes.

Summing-up: When employees experience BUY-IN, they have the context, framework, information and support required not just to focus and work on goals, but also to really rise to the challenge, to enhance their ability to contribute, and to help the organization meet important targets.

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