Tools For Collaborative Goal Setting

Goal setting is a very personal endeavor. In order to fully commit, it is crucial that each of us set goals for ourselves.

They cannot be assigned by someone else.

To have goals that benefit the individual as well as the business or team, it is best that all parties involved collaborate to make such goals. A manager might frame the conversations with some criteria that reflect the business’ fiscal needs while the employee contributes their own skills, strengths, personality, and ability to contribute.

Once goals are set, the following tools help avoid micro-management.

Regularly-scheduled yet informal conversations (Wednesdays from 1-1.20pm) where updates and progress are shared. Without a formal structure, (no reports have to be submitted) information can be shared via brief office visit, phone call, even over text back and forth freely.

Managers can ask relevant questions and update critical design changes while team members show regular progress, insights, and challenges – all in a low-stress manner. This helps give team members opportunities to contribute and allows managers to be used as a resource, ally, and cheerleader (rather than a boss).

Even though these are informal, it is important for both parties to focus the majority of dialogue regarding this project to the meetings. Occasionally, there will be some need for impromptu discussions, but it is the regularity of the meetings that helps keep progress steady and reduces the compounding impact of fears, obstacles, and roadblocks.

Every goal or project has its share of unknown variables. While we don’t anticipate failure or non-completion; from time to time projects get bigger than anticipated, priorities shift, and goals need to be postponed or completely re-designed. Bail-outs are set at key milestones to allow a graceful and respectful end to goals without completion.

They help minimize expensive losses (to budgets, egos, and personnel) while providing valuable learning opportunities.

Any party involved in completion of the specific goal (not someone assigned a task within the goal) can enact the bail-out. All that is required is open, honest communication (language can even be pre-written) that explains the why it was enacted along with details about ‘what did we learn/gain from this process’.

By focusing on what we learned/gained; we avoid placing blame and allow everyone to gain from the experience.

Using a system of regular Check-ins we almost completely eliminate the surprise, as well as minimizing the need, for most Bail-outs.

Goals Implementation Guide


This article was excerpted from our latest ebook; Guide To Goals. The entire book is available in full illustration as a free download at





Feel free to share ideas, comments, and questions below. We love hearing how these impact you and your team’s progress.

About David Frick
David brings a holistic approach to business growth that unites advertising, marketing, sales with aspects of leadership and operations. As the founder of SuccessVentures, he is driven to help build people, build value, and build business

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