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July 28, 2023 6 Min Read

Identify Goals & Build Action Plans

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Team setting Goals

Did you know that when you physically write down a goal, you are 33% more likely to achieve that goal? Who knew that such a simple change could considerably increase your likelihood of success! As a leader, setting and accomplishing goals is essential for driving success and achieving your organization’s objectives. However, to make sure that you fully understand the significance of goals and proper goal setting, let’s break it down.


Understand The Purpose Of Goals

At its core, goal setting is the process of defining a desired outcome or target for the future. In the workplace, the goals you or your colleagues set usually revolve around the success of the organization. Whether it be trying to grow revenue, cutting costs, or achieving better customer satisfaction, a goal creates a focus for activity and aids in prioritization of resources. A goal serves as a motivator to action. It has also been my experience that setting company goals is a great time to consider setting some personal goals that will allow you to explore ways to challenge yourself and grow professionally.


Identify The Purpose Of Action Plans

Action plans are the companion of goals. Once you have a goal it’s important to have a plan of action to get you there. The goal tells you where you want to be; the action plan describes how you will get there.


Set Effective Goals

Effective goal setting involves several key steps to help ensure success. The first step is to define the problem that the goal aims to solve and why it’s a priority at this time compared to other issues. Clearly defining the problem helps to identify the “what” of the goal. Also, goals must be motivating, neither too hard nor too easy. It should be reasonable and achievable to allow individuals to actually envision success. To further ensure a clear and focused goal, it’s essential to use a detailed goal-setting framework, to create specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals (aka SMART goals). 

“I also like to take this time as a coach to establish an agreed upon baseline of where everyone on the team collectively thinks they currently are on achieving the desired goal by using an agreed upon parameter established by the group (example 1-10). This provides a commonly understood and agreed upon framework to use when determining what progress looks like moving forward.” – Coach Phil Tittle says.

Setting a specific goal involves using precise action words, such as “transition,” “write,” or “produce.” Making the goal measurable ensures that you have a data-based, visible, or tangible way of measuring actual success, and it prevents you from relying on what may be ‘perceived’ success. The goal should be achievable, challenging enough to motivate, but also reasonable to accomplish with the skills and resources available. It should also be relevant to the team or organization’s larger goals, such as tying it to a Key Performance Indicator (KPI). Lastly, setting a timeframe or target date for achieving your goals makes it time-bound. Doing this provides a sense of urgency and helps you and your team stay on track to meet their goals.


Build Effective Action Plans 

When creating an effective action plan, here are some facts and helpful tips to consider. Begin by identifying any obstacles that may prevent the desired outcome, and determine the necessary skills and resources to overcome them. Once you’ve done this, you and your team can begin laying out the tasks that need to be completed, assigning the work, and setting milestone dates to monitor progress.

It may be tempting to create the action plan for your team on your own, while also determining all of the necessary skills and steps for your team to achieve the goal. However, as a leader, it’s your job to make sure your team is aligned and has ownership of the goals. If you want everyone to be working together towards the same outcome, involve them in the process of setting the goals. Although you may be guiding them through the process, ultimately you want them to feel like they own the process, thus, creating accountability for the outcomes.

Keep in mind that any action plan that you and your team come up with will need to be revised as events unfold. This is a completely normal part of the process, and all it means is that you and your team are learning, getting a better understanding of the business and its goals. Building in flexibility for shifting priorities and external influences beyond the team’s control will allow teams to adjust and manage their progress when change occurs. The best way I’ve found to do this is to routinely revisit a progress scale (e.g. red, yellow, green) throughout the process and update it according to agreed upon criteria.



Although goals and action plans are of equal importance, they are not synonymous. Goals are what you want as an outcome, and action plans are how you get there. To create effective goals, use a detailed goal setting framework, and remember that effective action plans require detail and collaboration to overcome any obstacles to meeting the goal.

Ultimately, setting specific and challenging goals pay off in performance, and practicing the art of goal setting and action planning has a positive return on investment for the individual, the team, and the organization. To increase your success in achieving your workplace goals, consider a 1:1 session with a TaskHuman coach to further explore effective goal setting and action plans. Prepare some questions that will form the foundation of a 1:1 conversation with a TaskHuman coach and use the TaskHuman platform to connect.


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