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Manager, Give Me A Goal!

Ever walk into a room, only to forget your purpose for going there in the first place? At that point you have two choices:

1. Sit in the room doing meaningless tasks despite having no idea why you’re there;

2. Immediately walk out and go back to doing something productive until you remember.

I guarantee in real life most people do NOT choose option 1. However, many of us get stuck in jobs where we end up doing just that. We are hired, given a list of responsibilities, trained (hopefully), and then left to our own devices. However, we have no idea what our actual GOALS are, much less what the company’s goals are and how we can contribute in a real way.

Managers, think about it this way: when you’re reading a prospective customer service representative’s resume, which of these is more impressive?

  • Answered customer inquiries via email and phone.
  • Cut the number of customer inquiries down by 20% by working with marketing to clarify website copy.

If you gave this employee the concrete goal of reducing customer inquiries rather than simply picking up the phone, he or she is almost 100% more likely to do so. And this employee is also 100% more likely to feel empowered and engaged vs. one who is given a rote, repetitive task with no context.

So, managers-

  • Step One: Figure out what the company’s goals are.
  • Step Two: Figure out what metrics each department needs to meet towards accomplishing those goals.
  • Step Three: Communicate these metrics in terms each employee can translate into action.
  • Step Four: Reap the benefits of an engaged workforce that doesn’t leave the room to do something more productive.

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