Engage employees with an emotional connection to purpose
When you make goals personal, they become present and immediate. Employees will rally round strategic goals to which they are connected. They will feel motivated and energised to achieve them. The question for leaders is how to make goals personal.
Why you must make goals personal
How do your people know how they are doing? Without goals to work toward, it is impossible to measure progress meaningfully. However, without meaningful goals, it is easy for employee to become disengaged.
Disengaged employees are less motivated to do their job well. Productivity and quality may fall. In extreme cases, you may witness an increase in absenteeism and staff turnover. Collaboration and teamwork are likely to decrease. Eventually, your bottom line will suffer.
Be a leader and make goals personal
Good leaders know how to motivate employees to be their best. When setting goals that align with business strategy, a leader must connect those goals to the big picture. This means explaining the goals in terms that employees can understand, and with a meaning with which the employees can engage.
Influencing the hearts and minds of employees requires the keenest qualities of leadership. To sell business strategy to employees, you must make goals personal, and they must align with the organisation’s core values.
To make goals personal, make them appealing
Appealing goals make for more meaningful goals. Here are five ways you can make goals personal by making them appealing.
1. Appealing to logic
The art of persuasion begins by making arguments logical. You must use facts to influence a change in thinking. In today’s world, people may argue with facts. However, facts are the foundation on which strategies are built, and they are the foundation on which emotional connection exists. Proof supports your position, and allows you to make strategy logical.
2. Appealing to the need for reality
Goals must be real and actionable. To make goals personal, you must make goals real for your employees. Strategies must be connected to the work that people do. Financial figures must be made real. A great sales technique is to break numbers into units of measure to which people can relate – ‘If you buy one cup of coffee less each week, you’ll save £200 in a year.’ Such a reality sets a bigger goal and makes it actionable immediately.
3. Appealing to the sense of curiosity
People are naturally curious and desire to learn new things. Provide the opportunity to do so by sharing new ideas, asking for views and opinions, and engaging employees in the discussion. Curiosity encourages people to turn the next page of a book, and the next. It drives innovation, creativity and invention.
Instead of telling employees to make more calls, discuss how many extra minutes a day making calls would increase sales by 50%.
4. Appealing to emotions
Here is where the meaningful becomes set in stone. The desire to work toward goals may be founded on facts, but it is driven by the heart. It is this emotional connection that truly motivates desire and energises action.
To make goals personal, good leaders find ways to connect action to values and create a deeper sense of connection with strategic goals.
5. Appealing to a sense of purpose
People desire purpose. They want to be a part of something bigger. That’s why movements such as CND in the 1970s and 1980s and Extinction Rebellion today gain such large followings. When a purpose drives action, people are willing to make sacrifices – providing the purpose is meaningful.
Providing a sense of purpose makes goals personal, driving sustained action toward the greater good.
Persuasion and influence are often used to manipulate rather than lead. Statistics and facts are used creatively to steer opinions and push viewpoints. We see this from politicians constantly, which is a major reason why people are becoming increasingly disengaged with politics.
A good leader does not seek to manipulate. Instead, they ensure that they remain accountable. To make goals personal, know your facts, be genuine, speak to the hearts and minds of your employees, and ensure that your strategic goals deliver on purpose.
(To see how putting people in the picture creates a shared vision and helps set a concrete destination, read this case study.)