Cut through the noise
Let’s have some fun. For each of the eight statements that follow, determine whether you believe it is a goal or an expectation:
How did you do? How do you think you did? What criteria did you use to determine if each statement was an expectation or a goal? Well, it is time for a small confession—the activity was a bit of a trick exercise. None of the statements rise to being goals, and many of them are poor examples of expectations. What is worse is that all the statements were taken from either Internet articles offering them as great examples of goals for employees or from interviews with managers. They have only been mildly edited for the sake of anonymity.
Expectations vs. Goals
The difference between expectations and goals is that expectations specify desired behaviors and goals specify desired results. They also serve different functions in engaging staff, managing performance, and getting results. Expectations set standards of ongoing performance. Goals set targets intended to be achieved.
Both expectations and goals can change—in response to changes in the work environment, staffing levels, organizational shifts, or other reasons—but expectations are generally long-lasting ideals for employees to demonstrate consistently over time. Goals (work goals), on the other hand, once achieved are completed and new goals are created to take their place.
Establishing expectations must come first and then you can proceed to goal setting. What gives work goals their power to engage is that you and your employee create them together in the context of the organization’s goals and your expectations as the manager. EdTrek's RESULT framework from Maximizing Staff Potential™ defines six critical elements of effective goals. To read more about RESULT and how to implement it, turn to Chapter 2 of Focus on This, Not That.
Your Next Steps to Implement This:
If you are going it alone, start by establishing expectations and then set goals with employees.
Or (the easier option), with Focus On This, Not That in hand, use the Chapter 1 worksheets to effectively set and communicate employee expectations and then follow the RESULT framework in Chapter 2—it walks you through the process of setting powerful work goals.
©2019 Kimberly Devlin, All rights reserved