There is a big difference between successful people and those who cannot seem to get anywhere; the difference does not have anything to do with age, educational level, race, or social status. The difference lies in the setting of goals to get to where they want to go. Goal-oriented individuals are confident and are always “on the go.” They are a productive group of people who can handle difficult situations with higher chances of accomplishing objectives compared to those who are simply “doing their job.”
Importance of Setting Realistic Performance Goals
Oftentimes, when people are asked what their performance goals are, they are not able to give good answers. They pause and stammer, trying to figure out and remember what it is exactly that they want to achieve in terms of performance level. But if truth be told, majority of people do not exactly set performance goals, and some have never even realized there is a need for one.
Whilst this is true for a percentage of the working population, there are also people who push themselves very hard in setting and realizing performance goals. There are perfectionists who have set unattainable measures for themselves, only to end up frustrated with the outcomes. As a result, these people resort to procrastination because they have discouraged themselves in the process.
When setting performance goals, it is a fundamental rule to make these goals realistic. They need to be achievable by you, because when you set goals that are impossible to achieve, you are bound to fail. These goals should be aligned to your purpose, your beliefs and values, and you should be comfortable with them so that you do not have to force yourself in fulfilling them.
In the workplace, we are expected to give a high level of performance consistently. Realistic performance goals enable individuals to utilize their mental capacities and willpower to their fullest. In addition, it also sets the required function levels for a person’s tasks and responsibilities, as well as the tools required to measure them. Performance goal setting will help employees understand what they need to do to perform their job functions, and what the organization expects from them.
From management’s perspective, setting of performance goals will set a standard for each of the key areas of every job position, thereby allowing them to easily pinpoint which areas need training and enhancement programs.
What Makes a Good Outcome?
There are four components of a good outcome for performance goal setting. These include: (1) clear and well-defined understanding of what is to be assessed, (2) measurable outcomes, (3) relevance and purpose, and (4) a standard criteria for which performance level will be measured against.
It is necessary to be clear about what you are trying to assess because if you are unable to define it, you most certainly will be unable to measure it. Next, outcomes should be measurable in order to know if your desired outcomes have been achieved or not. Third, whatever desired outcomes are set, these must be relevant to the overall purpose of the organization so that it will be rendered useful and viable. Lastly, each trait, behavior, or skill has to be measured against standard criteria otherwise accurate measurement cannot be made.
Creating Measurable Outcomes
A very important part of setting performance goals is the creation of measurable outcomes. These outputs will basically tell you what you will do and will describe the intended impact of your endeavor.
To define what your desired outcomes are, it is necessary to ask questions such as:
1. What KSA (knowledge, skills, and attitudes) do you expect to change or acquire?
2. What do you expect to get out of the performance goal setting?
You can measure the following: location, identification, selection, organization, interpretation, usage, and distribution. When measuring, the following questions need to be asked:
1. How many?
2. How much?
3. How important?
4. How dependable?
5. How accurate?
6. How well?
The outcome indicators include: audience, behavior, and conditions. Audience would refer to the participants (employees), behavior would refer to the expected action or performance, and condition would refer to the terms and environment where the assessment will be conducted.