Goodbye 2020! Nobody could predict the events that would transpire last year, and the effects on all of our lives and businesses, and I’ll start this blog by saying I truly hope you are all safe and well. But while the future remains uncertain, it’s not all doom and gloom! 2021 brings a chance to take business back into our own hands, and Triple Three Solutions is here to help. In January last year, we spoke about making and keeping New Year’s resolutions through the help of executive coaching. However, this year doesn’t seem quite like the right time for resolutions per se, as we’re all taking it day by day. This being said, we don’t have to sit back and wait for “normal” life to return to set career and business goals, we just have to be flexible, honest and realistic about it.

“It’s important to continue to set goals to work toward the career and life you desire,” she said. “How you execute your goals may be different; but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have goals to work toward.” – Kimberly Cummings of Manifest Yourself for businessinsider.com

Expect the unexpected: 

A few years ago, I compared managerial guidance to the every day Sat Nav (bear with me). Much like an unfamiliar drive, the year ahead will be a journey full of unexpected twists and turns. We may face diversions or get stuck in traffic jams, but our goals will keep us moving forward. As a business owner, setting goals will help you to guide your employees through any challenges in the best way possible.

“My reflections led me to thinking, how comforting it is if you have a manager, like a Sat Nav, quietly in the background providing the assurance that you are ‘on track’.” – triplethreesolutions.co.uk/sat-nav-for-your-staff

So how can you set business goals whilst expecting and preparing for the unexpected?

Locke & Latham’s theory:

You may already be used to setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals for your business. This method is a great way to target specific objectives by breaking them down into smaller, more achievable steps. In this uncertain time, putting goals into bite-sized pieces is so important to motivate and keep your organisation moving forward, no matter what the year throws at us.

As we look towards the future, first, we take a look back. Locke & Latham’s research from the 1960s helped form our modern-day approach to goal setting and our understanding of employee motivation. In brief, they found that most employees performed best when given specific, more demanding (but not too difficult!) targets rather than vague comments and tasks like ‘try your best’.

Their findings can be broken down into the following five principles; clarity, challenge, commitment, feedback and task complexity. Below, we’ve looked at how these fundamentals can be applied to business in 2021 (and beyond).

  • Clarity: Keep goals specific so you know exactly what the aim is and how to measure success.
  • Challenge: More difficult tasks can motivate and engage, however, ensure they are achievable, rewarded and put your own and your teams’ mental health first.
  • Commitment: Empower and trust employees by including them in goal setting, and allowing them to set their own.
  • Feedback: Whether your team are WFH or not, communication is key! Be sure to both give and take regular feedback to measure accomplishments, progress and see if anything needs to be changed going forward.
  • Task Complexity: This is one of the most important things to consider this year in particular. Be aware of stress and know where to break down larger, complex goals to avoid overwhelming yourself or your team. In addition, consider how training, coaching or mentoring can help your team as we navigate 2021.

For a more in-depth look at Locke & Latham’s theory, you can read their 1990 book ‘A Theory of Goal Setting & Task Performance’. I also recommend this mindtools.com article from 2016.

333 Final Thoughts:

Overall, the year that lies ahead isn’t too different to any other year. We can still plan ahead, whilst reflecting and learning from the successes of the previous year. The main takeaway is to remain flexible, and not to put too much pressure on yourself and your business. Here at Triple Three Solutions, we’re ready to help you set and manage your business goals for 2021. If you’d like our advice and guidance, or for any other HR Issues, please get in touch. Give our HR consultants a call on 0333 050 3330, use our contact page or email lisa@triplethreesolutions.co.uk.

I’ll end this blog with one of my favourite quotes, that feels remarkably poignant right now, don’t you think?

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there” – Lewis Carroll.