January is a natural time to engage your team in new organizational initiatives. At the start of the year, people tend to put their best foot forward and be willing to explore new ideas and changes. But if you don’t effectively communicate your goals, you’ll waste the opportunity of a new year.
Make Your Goals SMART
People often use the words resolution, goal, and objective interchangeably, but they aren’t. If you’re talking about keeping your house cleaner or exercising more, it’s fine to make a resolution. A resolution is simply a decision to do or not to do something.
A goal, on the other hand, is an achievable outcome. Goals are typically broad and long-term but are still measurable. An objective is the specific, quantifiable action you take to meet a goal. Making SMART Goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-sensitive) will make it easier to communicate your expectations and plans to your team. SMART goals will also help you make plans you can keep and track.
Don’t Overload with Details
Too much communication is almost as bad as too little. It can be impossible for people to keep track of hundreds of emails and slack messages, and people can only take in so much information at once. Before you begin communicating your goals and objectives, plan it out. Avoid going into too much detail in the first communication. Instead, create a communications schedule that lets you share additional information in a regular and sustainable cadence. Consistency reduces information overload, and lets team members keep those objectives/priorities top of mind throughout the year.
Communicate the Why
Although you don’t want to overload your team with too much information at once, don’t forget to share the essential info. Most people find it easier to accept a goal or change if they know why they’re doing it. If your goal is to add a new program by the end of the first quarter, make sure the team knows why that new program is important.
Communicate with Your Audience
The 20/20/60 rule of change essentially states that with any change, 20% of the people will be on board immediately, 20% of people will never be on board, and 60% are up for grabs. When planning your communications, make sure you know to which group you’re talking. Most of your focus should be on the flexible 60%. However, getting those people on board will be easier if you turn the easy 20% into evangelizers for the goals. Do not waste time trying to convince the 20% of people who will never be on board to get on board.
Be Accountable and Reset
Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution to do something like go to the gym before work every day? Usually, by about February, not only are you not going to the gym every day, you feel so bad about that, you don’t go at all. The same thing can happen with organizational goals. When things don’t go exactly as planned, organizations often throw out the entire plan. To avoid this happening, communicate progress and updates regularly. Don’t be afraid to rethink your plans and communication strategy to keep up with new realities.
Have a Strategic Plan
Setting annual goals and objectives shouldn’t be done in a vacuum. The best way to make sure your goals for 2022 make sense and that you can effectively communicate them is if they’re part of an overall strategic plan. At Brighter Strategies, we can help you both create a strategic plan and a communications plan for it. Contact us to find out more.