Your team looks to you every day to ensure that the goals set forth for your organization make sense and that you are poised to lead the team to achieve them.
Guests also depend upon your leadership as they expect organizations to keep refining their processes, innovating, and finding ways to make their lives easier.
So that is ultimately the real trick – to keep your business moving forward while avoiding potential pitfalls and failures. This is the only way you can ensure relevance for your brand into the future.
To stand still is to become boring. To become boring is to stagnate. Stagnation is the first step toward irrelevance.
If you’ve been following the news lately, you have seen many brands that were once the cornerstone of American retail begin to crumble. Across the country thousands of stores from previously bullet-proof brands are closing to triage the financial well being of the parent group.
In many cases, these organizations should have seen it coming. They stalwartly refused to change their business model or evolve with the marketplace to move into the future with their Guests. Brands that want to continue to succeed will have to become very comfortable with change management and goal setting.
Here are 8 tips to help your business set goals that can drive real change that your Guests will love:
Make sure they are SMART Goals that must have specificity. They have to be measurable. Agreed upon goals have a higher level of success. They have to be realistic. And finally, time bound goals create a culture of urgency. This acronym is used and over-used throughout the business world. Keep it simple and just ensure that your team understands this process is needed to keep the train rolling and hold everyone accountable – don’t just bandy it about as a way to sound important.
They should be a little uncomfortable Great goals make people just a little nervous. Remember, you (and your team) don’t learn anything in a state of comfortable bliss. It takes a little friction to start a fire and goals are no exception. Keep the urgency high, but the communication dialed up to 11, to keep discomfort from becoming panic. If you lather your organization into panic when setting goals (which usually happens in a communication vacuum), then you’ll get nowhere.
Your team must understand the reasoning Don’t be the leader that keeps your team guessing about the goals. Be up front and make sure everyone understands the goals. Your team can’t help you achieve a goal they don’t understand, so whether you are enhancing Guest service, driving productivity, or targeting more profit, make sure your team is crystal clear about the goals.
Align the goals with your organizational values Goals have to align in some way with the base values of your organization. If there is a disconnect there, then you have to bridge the gap or realign the goals. For example, if Customer service is a core value, but new goals appear to have a negative impact upon that pillar of the business, then you have to reconcile that gap. It could be that communication is the answer, but it could also be a gut check moment to ensure that the goals are right for the business.
Give the team a chance to contribute to the dialogue When you give your team the ability to contribute to goal setting and problem solving, it gives them ownership in the process. You will still hear those who don’t want to be a part of the process, but there is no doubt that when people are given a voice, they are more likely to become advocates for success. This also brings in varying points of view from team members who may be much more connected to the front line.
Make sure everyone understands their role Goals take a lot of work to set. They also take even more work to achieve. Make sure the team is very clear about how they fit into making the goals a reality and then give them the tools and knowledge they need to succeed. When team members know what they are expected to do and how that fits into the larger mission, they are much more likely to be a part of creating great goals that are accomplished.
Script the big moves in the effort It take leadership to set great goals and then move the ball across the goal line. Make sure that the planning is on point and that there are timelines established that are achievable, but that push the limits slightly. As mentioned earlier, assertive goals are definitely valuable to keep the team energized and on track.
Reward early adopters There will be champions in any change effort – and often that happens organically. Sure you may appoint leaders to help with the goal planning, but sometimes you will have those who step up out of nowhere and become advocates for the process. Reward them and keep them energized – these are folks who will be key drivers of success.
So remember, change is a tough thing. But no change can take place without an impactful set of goals that reflect the values of the organization, plot a course to innovation, and keep Guests at the center of everything you do.
Until next time, make sure to treat all your Guests like cherished friends.
Tony Johnson -Guest Experience Leader-
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