5 Steps to More Effective Goal Setting

Right after a heartbreaking loss to Alabama, Texas A &M quarterback Johnny Manziel http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Manziel talked about his team staying focused on goals such as getting to the SEC Championship by taking things “one game at a time.” That old coaching cliché is great, but successful goal setting is far more systematic and planned out. Here are 5 steps to increase the likelihood of reaching team goals.

1) State the purpose.  Complete this sentence.  I want to __________.

Examples: I want the team to increase their free throw percentage from 55 to 60 percent this year.

• I want to the team to reduce turnovers by 10 percent.

• I want to complete at least fifty percent of our passes.

• I want the team to win at least three more games than they did the previous year.

Make the goal (whether individual or team) as succinct as possible.

2) Beware of vague goals.  If you have a vague goal such as “winning our conference” you are much less likely to instill commitment over the course of the season.  What happens if you lose one or two key games and are almost out of the race early on?  It’s fine to have the goal of winning your conference, just make sure to back it up with other goals that can be worked towards as you pursue the larger aim.

3) Create the commitment.  Next, focus on the good things that will come with the achievement of your goal.  Will more wins lead to job security?  Will the team have a more positive working environment?  Will everyone feel pride in the accomplishments that take place?  The more you think about what you have to gain, the more committed you and the team will be.  Note: You can tentatively use some reverse psychology here by pointing out how poorly everyone felt when they didn’t achieve their goals in the past.

4) Define the steps.  So you want to increase your winning percentage by 10 points?  Great, but exactly how do you expect to do that?  Determine what it will take to achieve your overall goals.  Use these criteria as steps to set smaller, shorter-term goals to reach your larger end of season goals.

5) Maintain focus and track progress.  Keep yourself, your staff and team on track by marking milestones on a calendar, posting a progress chart in a prominent place and passing out hand written reminders.  Have a team party or other fun activity after certain milestones are reached to keep commitment high and keep people focused over the long haul. Meet regularly with the team to access how things are coming along.  Ask team members what they think the team is doing right or wrong depending on the situation.

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