Create powerful team goals that really work

High performing teams need to be clear why they exist, what winning looks like and how they need to think and act. Until that’s sorted, don’t bother with anything else.

This tool is all about making sure your team’s goals are clear from the start so you can unite, get focused, cut to action with confidence and fulfil the talent and expertise around the table.

Reading time: 4 minutes

What will it do?

This tool is all about making sure your team’s goals are clear from the start. Depending on the size of your team and who likes doing this stuff, you can complete the tool as a team or get 1 or 2 people to draft it and bring it back to the team to nail it.

In any case, complete it as a priority as early in the team’s development as possible and then review it regularly to make sure your goals are still relevant and working for you. This is a tool you can use regularly, particularly as time passes, everyone gets busy and different people join the team.

Three steps to take

Get focused on the things that will make the most impact for you

1. Write down why the team exists – this is your team’s purpose or “Why”. What’s it there to achieve or deliver? What couldn’t be done if you were just a group of high performing individuals? Think a bit bigger and longer term here. It’s what unites, inspires and excites you and might frighten you a bit too. You might not know how you’re going to do it and it might be outside of your control. That’s fine.

2. Choose the key measures that will tell you you’re winning. These are your team’s “Whats” and think of them as signposts that tell you the team is on the right road, travelling in the right direction and moving at the right speed. They may be a number or a feeling. Both are good.

For example, if your team’s “Why” is “to create a place where everyone feels proud to work”, you might include things like financial success, brand reputation, and engagement. Typically, the team will have quite a lot of control over these things and you’ve probably got lots of these already (that’s why there isn’t a tool to figure these out). Remember they need to link closely to your “Why” so don’t just put stuff in here because you can measure it. If you’ve got more than 5 or 6 measures, you’ve probably misunderstood the meaning of “key”.

The 5 or 6 things that will tell us we’re winning and will give us confidence that we’re doing the right things.








3. Nearly there. Now decide how the team is going to need to think, act and behave to increase its chances of hitting those measures of success and so drive towards its purpose.

Here you’re getting clear on the sorts of attitudes and habits vital for team success. The more these are things you can see someone else “doing”, the better. You might include the regular use of processes and tools in here as well. These things are your team’s “How” and you’ve got pretty much total control over them. That’s a good thing.

We’ve filled in one example to get you going and again you probably don’t want more than 5 or 6. You can always add others as the habits you’ve chosen at first become, well, habits.

Attitudes and habits What we’ll be able to see or hear when the team is doing this
i) Make the most of our time together Meetings start and finish on time. We always have a clear agenda and we know the objective for each item

Your plan

Get a plan Stan. The basics you need to have in your plan are set out below.

Plan basics

  1. What are you going to do? This bit is easy – it’s the 3 things listed above. No 3 is particularly helpful here. If there’s anything else you need to do, jot it down here.

    My actions:

  2. When are you going to start? You don’t have to be great to get going, but you better get going if you want to be great.

    My start date:

  3. How often will you be doing it? Getting great has a lot to do with making things a habit.

    Check in dates:

Get serious

The difference between having a plan and making it work is about action. So get this in your diary now. Tell the people who need to know so that they can support you and won’t just think you’re being weird. Do it now.

Remember, it’s progress not perfection. You’re looking for gradual improvement, not for Rome to be built in a day.