A group of six professionals, including both men and women, are seated around a table in a modern office environment. They are engaged in a discussion, with laptops, documents, and coffee cups on the table. The lower half of the image has a blue banner that reads "The Power of Goal Clarity and Team Alignment" and includes the logo of Star One Professional Services.

Whether you’re a business owner leading a crew of talented employees, or a department head managing a team, goal setting and achieving is always part of the success equation. Whether your goal is for the year or the quarter, smart leaders look beyond that stretch of time and envision how that goal will impact their short-term and long-term future.

An undeniable part of the equation is defining and maintaining clarity, top to bottom. From “pie in the sky” visioning to boots-on-the-ground implementation, ensuring everyone is on the same crystal clear page is a necessity.

It’s not always easy, but of course, great results never are. Leading a team toward a single goal while maintaining a positive and proactive atmosphere with clarity requires a combination of detailed communication, realistic and strategic planning, setting and managing expectations, and team alignment. Let’s consider how you would achieve this.

Start By Defining Real and Granular Goals

Clear goals that are documented and communicated with details will set you on a good path to success. As you know, I’m a proponent of W.H.Y.S.M.A.R.T. -  so make sure it is Written, Harmonious, and Yours – as well as Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistically-High, and Time-Bound.

Communicating your goal cannot be a “one and done”, as company dynamics change organically in response to the economy, company culture, and employee turnover.  

  • How often are you validating the goal and realistic expectations for attaining it?
  • How often are you revising it and communicating updates to each team member?

Allocate, Delegate, Communicate

Here’s where it’s better to overcommunicate: use a variety of channels like regularly scheduled team meetings, status emails, and project management software so that the most current version of your goals is posted everywhere. 

One high-level lofty goal can have many interpretations and feels as if it will take forever to accomplish; break your goal into smaller, manageable tasks and milestones. Assign each task to the team member whose skill set warrants it. When you assign each task to a team member, you can track progress, especially when using project management software. An even bigger benefit is the sense of ownership that person will have over their part of the project. Positive buy-in is fostered when a team member owns a portion of the project.

Enhance Team Unity and Clarity

Whatever project management app you use will return solid benefits and peace of mind. It’s a tool to share your expectations regarding responsibilities, deadlines, and quality standards. When you break out the tasks and define what role each team member plays, you don’t want them working in disconnected silos.

When everyone has access to the same pool of information, it fosters a sense of unity within the team. Using a tool in which everyone can plug in their status and comment on each task supercharges communications, clarifies expectations, and reduces redundancy. They can see, in writing, how their contributions clearly fit into the bigger picture.

Foster Collaboration and Communication

Another benefit of clarifying your goals is curating a culture of collaboration where team members feel comfortable sharing ideas, asking for help, and providing feedback. Clarity naturally encourages open communication and ensures that everyone feels valued and heard. This also helps ensure that your team has the necessary resources, tools, and support to accomplish their tasks effectively. This may include training, access to information, or removing obstacles.

Be Prepared for the Long Haul

The longer term your goal, do be prepared for a change in team members. People come and go, so having your goal clarified in writing and set up in a communications plan with available training will mitigate possible confusion when new folks join the team.

If you want to keep your team on track and focused, ensure that timely feedback is part of your communication model. This helps to keep everyone rowing in the same direction and allows you to spot and address any issues or concerns promptly. Celebrate milestones and successes along the way to keep morale high and motivate your team. Recognize and reward their hard work and achievements to reinforce positive behavior.

Stay Focused and Flexible

Understand that any clear goal achievement plan will hit bumps in the road from time to time. You can – and should – expect that you may have to revise your plan, and even further revise your revision. Be flexible and willing to adjust as needed. Circumstances do change, and new challenges arise, so be prepared to adapt your plans accordingly while keeping the overall goal in mind.

As the business owner or department head, you’ll be expected to lead by example by demonstrating commitment, resilience, and a positive attitude toward the goal. Ask good questions of yourself and others. If there are no answers, keep asking others. Clarity comes from probing and asking questions even when you don’t want to hear the answers.

Your behavior sets the tone for the rest of the team, so make sure you embody the values and principles you want to instill in them. If you want clear and direct communication from them, it must start with you.