1. Those goals are not my goals! Sometimes managers don’t succeed in getting employees to buy in to the plan. Unless managers work hard with their employees and agents to develop a sense of ownership, employees will not likely attain goals set for them.
The Fix: Involve your staff in the goal-setting process. Get bottom-up input into everything from your short-term objectives to the company vision.
2. I’ve got goals, but no time to get them done! Goal setting can become an exercise in futility when employees are left with expectations to achieve something they will never have time to work on. After all, goal achievement should be the priority.
The Fix: Don’t let every urgent project get in the way, or you’ll find yourself empty handed at the end of the year. Keep the eyes on the prize.
3. The goals weren’t specific, or were not well communicated.
Many times, managers think they’ve communicated their goals. What they’ve really done is waxed rhapsodic over an abstraction while employees wondered when they could get back to work.
The Fix: Make sure you put your goals IN WRITING, with SPECIFIC DATES. A dream with a deadline, clearly expressed, becomes a goal. You cannot build an institution on verbal instructions. Put everything on paper, where all employees can see it.
4. The Goals were unrealistic. In an effort to make great strides, sometimes goals are set too high. When this happens, goals can actually discourage progress.
The Fix: Find a balance between the extremes. A goal should be a stretch, but something that is doable
5. Nobody was checking. Sometimes managers communicate goals and standards clearly, but then the goals are quickly forgotten. Lack of facilitation and direction from management leaves employees feeling like they are on their own without any genuine interest from company leaders.
The Fix: Get involved. Put command emphasis on your goals by monitoring progress. If it’s important enough to be a goal, it’s important enough to devote some time to it yourself. Hold your team accountable for that progress. Put up a chart tracking that progress where everyone can see it.
6. The worker is a bad fit for the customer or industry. There was an old saying about sheep ranchers and cattle ranchers not mixing company. If you have a salesperson assigned to a particular industry he/she can not identify with and has no interest in, that individual is unlikely to excel.
The Fix: Consider reassigning for a period of time, or ask the employee what area they have interest or prior experience in. Work with that person to create a solution that is profitable for the company and the individual alike.
7. Managers don’t understand what motivates the staff. True motivation comes from within. Even if external factors give one a boost, the decision to move ahead comes from within.
The Fix: Help encourage honest discussion about what motivates each member of your team. Don’t guess, just ask, straight out. Most of us know.
8. The staff was not well trained. Developing a training program at hire is critical to setting your staff up to succeed.
The Fix: Have other members of your staff assist in creating a realistic plan that is specific, “By the end of day 1 we will have accomplished…” Do this daily, then weekly for four weeks straight. Ask the new hire to write a synopsis of what they have learned, by category or department, and where they need more assistance.
9. Workers don’t care. Unfortunately, some people are just not happy where they are. In fact, they may not even be happy with a reassignment.
The Fix: Have an honest conversation with this person. Ask them if they are happy in their position and ask them for specifics of why or why not. Be open to the feedback they offer. In truth, perhaps you as a manager can make positive changes to help affect change in your organization.