Goal Setting in Virtual Teams (3 min)

Goal Setting in Virtual Teams

Research suggests that setting high-quality goals, and building commitment to these goals, significantly affect perceptions of outcomes on virtual project teams. Furthermore, studies have demonstrated that making goals highly specific increases motivation within the workplace.

The Three-C’s of goal achievement – Clarity, Commitment and Consistency – offer a proven framework for setting yourself up for success in goal achievement

  1. The first step is Clarity, which is determining what your goals are. To ensure clarity, goals should be written down in specific terms. You may also want to use the ‘SMART goal’ criteria as a benchmark for goal clarity.
  2. Next is Commitment. We must be sure our mindset is one of confident determination to achieve the goal. We should be ready to use a variety of techniques as needed to maintain a positive, commitment mindset.
  3. The third step is Consistency, which means we find a rhythm for working on our goals, tracking our progress and holding ourselves accountable until we successfully achieve our goals.

Here are some suggestions for how to go about setting and monitoring goals with your team:

Align on big picture goals

Take time with your team to brainstorm and create a shared vision of what success looks like for the organization and the team. There are many different ways to do this. As a virtual team, you might make use of online collaboration tools such as Miro to create a shared visual space for brainstorming over a conference call. Ensure that everyone has a voice, and do your best to make sure that the final vision is something that everyone can get behind. Make your goals clear, and get everyone’s commitment to work towards them.

Break longer-term goals down into smaller micro-goals

Lofty goals can be overwhelming without a clear road map for how to achieve them. It is helpful to break down larger goals into quarterly, monthly or weekly goals that add up to the result you are aiming for. Along the way, you might revisit and amend these goals based on a feedback loop of what has worked and what has not. Agile methodology, adapted from software design, can be a useful way to break down larger goals into work cycle or “sprint” goals.

Check-in regularly on short to medium-term goals

Make regular team appointments to check in around individual and collective goals for the week, month, quarter or year. These meetings serve to course correct when a goal is off track, celebrate when a goal is met, and problem solve or revise goals that are significantly failing to be met.