Scaling up requires setting stretched goals and making the team own them

In the complicated undertaking of scaling up a business, goal-setting emerges as a vital point that propels both the company and its individuals toward success. While the framework of SMART goals is well-established, the real magic happens when these goals are stretched and imbued with a sense of ownership, creating a powerful dynamic that fuels motivation and collective success.

Setting goals for a company and its individuals is not merely a procedural task but a strategic imperative in the scaling-up phase. Goals must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART). This framework provides a structured approach, ensuring that objectives are well-defined and attainable within a designated time frame. 

Stretched goals, however, take this concept a step further. These are ambitious targets that push the boundaries of what seems like “difficult to achieve”. While such goals may initially appear daunting, they serve as powerful motivators. Stretched goals ignite a sense of purpose and challenge within the team, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and innovation. 

It will be critical to note here that such stretched goals can be set only by leaders who are respected and trusted by their team members. Because the team trusts the judgement of the leader and knows that he/she will provide the necessary support and hand holding when needed, the team members will be comfortable with accepting stretched goals as their targets. Such teams which chase and achieve stretched goals also need to be recognised and rewarded in a different manner. 

Crucially, for stretched goals to be effective, the team must own them. This ownership can also be cultivated through a participatory goal-setting process, where team members are actively involved in shaping and refining objectives. When individuals have a hand in crafting the goals, they are more likely to be invested in their achievement, transforming the goals from imposed targets to personal challenges.

The flow of goals should be top-down, with organizational objectives cascading through different levels of the company. This alignment ensures that individual and team goals are in sync with the overarching vision and strategy. It creates a cohesive narrative, where every contribution, no matter how granular, plays a vital role in achieving the larger goals of the organization.

To achieve this alignment, a serious integration of organizational goals with individual goals is necessary. Team members must see a direct correlation between their day-to-day efforts and the broader objectives of the company. This interconnectedness fosters a sense of purpose and reinforces the idea that each individual’s contribution is integral to the collective success.

Equally important is the regular review of goals. Setting goals is just the beginning; ongoing assessment and adjustment are crucial for ensuring progress. Regular check-ins allow for course correction, provide opportunities for recognition of achievements, and offer a chance to recalibrate goals in response to evolving circumstances.

The journey of scaling up becomes extremely interesting when stretched goals are set and the team owns them. The synergy of SMART and stretched goals, coupled with a sense of ownership, becomes a potent force propelling the organization toward its ambitious objectives. As businesses embrace the challenges of growth, they must recognize that the true magic lies not just in setting goals but in creating a culture where every team member is motivated to own and achieve them.