Why Goals Fail and What You Can Do About It Infographic

There’s no question that people who define goals are more successful than their free-floating colleagues. So, for all of the benefits that goal-setting brings, why is it that so many of these goals remain unreachable?

A new infographic by Workboard provides some insight into this issue, and it’s not pretty:

  • Disengagement abounds, as 87 percent of employees are not inspired to achieve goals
  • 93 percent of employees can’t relate company goals to their everyday actions
  • 50 percent of managers find it difficult to drive accountability

Deidre Paknad, CEO and co-founder of Workboard, recently spoke with CMSWire about why goals fail, and also provided us with some hints on what managers can do to help motivate their teams to achieve, instead.

Goals Failing? Here’s Why

1. Nobody knows what the goals are

2015-17-March-Deidre-Paknad.jpgPaknad stated that, as the number of multi-geographic companies grows, it has become much harder to translate goals into something that is meaningful to local employees.

“As companies become global and we see more mergers and acquisitions, a single goal can’t relate to everyone in the company,” she said. “Managers need to translate these goals and make them relevant locally.”

She added that first-, second- and third-level managers need to find ways to make goals real, relatable and always front and center. “Goals need to be decomposed,” she said. “For their specific teams, managers need to ask: ‘What does it mean to us?’ and ‘How do we translate this into a mission for our team?’”

2. Employees can’t see the goals

If you had just three seconds to find your work goals, would you know where to go? If you’re like the 76 percent of workers who have a to-do list, but have no idea how these relate to your company’s overall goals (only 7 percent do know), you’ll fail what Paknad calls the “3 Second Rule.”

“If you can’t see your goals in 3 seconds, they’re gone,” said Paknad. Instead, she continued, many people will go to their inbox and let the latest email message dictate their goal.

“Your goals must be visible, accessible and present,” she said. “If they’re invisible or hard to access, then you’re drifting.”

To-do lists also compete with goals, as many people tend to begin working on the easiest tasks rather than those that most impact larger goals, she added.

“Most people write down their tasks, and in the absence of any larger wrapper, it’s easy that the last thing in is what you start working on,” said Paknad. “Managers should provide members of their team with a framework to make good choices with their time. If people don’t know how to prioritize things, they can quickly be overwhelmed or start working on the wrong things.”

3. Managers don’t give feedback

Paknad noted that the key to getting employees engaged and excited about their work and goals, is that managers provide feedback as to why goals are meaningful to daily work.

“When you celebrate the small victories, it rejuvenates and revitalizes people on their way to the big goal,” she said. “This kind of reward is emotional, deeper, and can last a heck of a lot longer than a raise. It is what engagement means – my company is engaged with me and I’m engaging back.”


Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by familymwr.