How Do You Approach Setting and Reviewing Performance Goals?

How Do You Approach Setting and Reviewing Performance Goals?

In the pursuit of excellence and effective management, we've gathered insights from executive leaders, including Founders and CEOs, on how they set and review performance goals. From empowering employees to set their own goals to aligning goals with vision and transparency, explore the four strategic tactics these top executives employ to drive their organizations forward.

  • Empower Employees to Set Goals
  • Integrate Continuous Feedback Loops
  • Stay Aligned and Consistent
  • Adopt SMART Goals and Reviews

Empower Employees to Set Goals

Try letting employees set their own performance goals. We switched to this tactic at Pender & Howe a few years back, and it's been remarkably effective. Workers consistently aim higher than we expect, and in fact, we were often underestimating what they were capable of.

It's a great motivational tool. When workers feel empowered, instead of managed, they're more likely to give it their all.

And, because they often know their role better than management does, there is a specificity that comes through when they plan their own schedules and deadlines. Their goals are often more precise and less generic than what we would have given them, and that helps to solidify their efforts along the way.

Travis Hann
Travis HannPartner, Pender & Howe

Integrate Continuous Feedback Loops

A particularly effective tactic I've employed involves integrating a continuous feedback loop into the goal-setting process, rather than relying solely on annual reviews. This approach allows for more dynamic goal adjustment and keeps teams aligned with evolving business objectives.

For example, in our digital marketing agency, we adopted a quarterly review system where each team presents their progress toward the set goals and discusses challenges and opportunities. This regular cadence encourages ongoing dialogue between team members and leadership, fostering a proactive environment where adjustments can be made swiftly if a strategy is not yielding the expected results. Additionally, it encourages teams to experiment and innovate, knowing that their efforts will be reviewed and potentially recalibrated on a regular basis.

This approach has not only improved our operational agility but also significantly enhanced employee engagement and accountability. By seeing how their work directly contributes to the organization's success and having the opportunity to pivot strategies quickly, teams feel more empowered and invested in the outcomes.

Bruno Gavino
Bruno GavinoFounder, CEO, CodeDesign

Stay Aligned and Consistent

Be aligned with company objectives - ALWAYS.

Be specific and measurable in what behaviors you monitor. Make sure goals are realistic and that your people have the tools to achieve them.

Meet regularly, keep the meeting format consistent, and be sure to provide feedback between check-ins.

Always acknowledge wins, no matter how small, and always set time aside to check in with your people on a personal level.

James KeatingChief Operating Officer, Transportation One, LLC

Adopt SMART Goals and Reviews

In the fast-paced world of marketing, setting and reviewing performance goals is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. As the CEO of a marketing company, here's a strategic approach I've found effective:

Setting SMART Goals: We involve key stakeholders across departments (sales, marketing, analytics) to establish goals. This fosters ownership and leverages diverse perspectives. We also analyze historical data, market trends, and competitor insights to set realistic and ambitious targets.

We utilize the SMART framework to ensure goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. This provides clarity, direction, and a roadmap for success.

All marketing goals ultimately tie back to the company's broader objectives – whether it's increasing brand awareness, driving lead generation, or boosting customer acquisition. Clear alignment ensures marketing efforts contribute directly to the bottom line.

For example, let's say our objective is to increase website traffic by 20% within the next quarter (Specific, Measurable, Time-Bound). To achieve this, we might set SMART sub-goals such as:

Content Marketing: Increase blog post frequency to twice per week (Measurable, Achievable).

SEO Optimization: Improve website ranking for relevant keywords by 10 positions (Measurable, Achievable).

Social Media Marketing: Launch a targeted social media campaign with an expected reach of 10,000 users (Measurable, Achievable).

Performance reviews also shouldn't solely focus on numbers. We conduct a two-pronged approach:

Quantitative Review: We analyze key metrics like website traffic, lead generation, and conversion rates to assess goal achievement. This data provides a clear picture of effectiveness.

Qualitative Review: We go beyond the numbers by discussing the "why" behind the results. We ask questions like:

  • What marketing tactics resonated most with the audience?
  • Did any unforeseen challenges arise?
  • What learnings can be applied to future campaigns?

This qualitative review fosters open communication, identifies areas for improvement, and allows us to continuously adapt and refine our strategies.

Chelsy Bothra
Chelsy BothraFounder & CEO, Murraad Creatives & Co.

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