How To Set Goals as a Team: Steps and Examples

Updated July 21, 2022

A team brings together a variety of experiences and skill sets. Setting goals as a team helps an office community unite and solve problems as a group. Team-specific goals give everyone something to work towards. 

In this article, we define team goals, discuss how to set goals for a team and explore some examples.

What are team goals?

Team goals are the objectives or milestones that a team commits to working toward together. Team goals often measure points in a process or develop skills across an organization. 

Team goals can also help employees feel more invested in the company’s objectives since they contribute to developing them. Setting goals as a team gives everyone the opportunity to display and develop their skills and contribute their unique experiences.

How to set team goals

Setting goals as a team is a process that requires collaboration and communication. In order to help your team invest in these goals, you need to find a balance between maximizing individual skill sets and finding the best way to achieve your ultimate goal.

With these needs in mind, here are some strategies you can use to set goals as a team:

1. Keep company goals in mind

It’s a good idea for your team goals to contribute to broader company goals. Before you set your own team goals, ensure that the team understands the company’s objectives. For instance, the company wants to improve customer acquisition rates, which is why you decide to design advertisements that will drive more website traffic. This goal contributes to the company’s objectives and shows how you helped the company succeed.

2. Use the SMART system

Before setting any goals, ensure that your team understands the SMART criteria for setting goals:

  • Specific: The more specific your goal, the more focused your efforts can be and the more likely you are to succeed. For example, the goal to “improve clickthrough rate by 25%” is more specific than “improve clickthrough rate.” That specificity can better help you measure your progress and create more actionable plans.

  • Measurable: Tracking your progress toward meeting goals is much easier if your goals are measurable. A measurable goal is also easier to divide into smaller, more manageable milestones that individuals and your team can monitor. For example, you can measure your progress in increments toward a 25% improvement, but measuring progress toward an ambiguous goal to improve can be far more challenging. 

  • Attainable: Your team goals should be realistic to achieve within the appropriate time. You will be more efficient with your time and resources if your goal is attainable. 

  • Relevant: While your team may be motivated to address many issues, relevant team goals guarantee that you are resolving the most pressing issues and that your team has the resources and skills to accomplish the goal. 

  • Time-related: In order to be productive and efficient with your time and resources, team goals should have clear deadlines. 

Image description

The image shows a breakdown of SMART Goals, which are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. The left side of the image shows a large letter, the word the letter represents, and a brief description of each.

S | Specific | Make your goals specific and narrow for more effective planning.

M | Measurable | Define what evidence will prove you're making progress and reevaluate when necessary.

A | Attainable | Make sure you can reasonably accomplish your goal within a certain timeframe.

R | Relevant | Your goals should align with your values and long-term objectives.

T | Time-based | Set a realistic, ambitious end-date for task prioritization and motivation.

3. Generate an action plan

Setting a goal is only the beginning of the team goal-setting process. It’s advisable to also create an action plan that your team can follow as they work towards their goal. Creating an action plan requires your goal to be measurable so that you can establish clear milestones. An effective action plan also involves guaranteeing that your team has the resources necessary to fulfill their responsibilities, such as software, equipment or additional training.

4. Allow team members to create their own goals

You and your teammates can become far more invested in team goals by setting your own individual goals. Once you have set your team goal, create individual milestones that take into account your own skills, experience and resources. As your team develops these goals, remember the SMART framework so you can build achievable and actionable goals for each member.

Related: Ultimate Guide to Strategic Planning

5. Help your team with their individual responsibilities

While your team may share a group objective, each team member should have assigned responsibilities and individual milestones.

You can help your team throughout the process by:

  • Scheduling regular one-on-one meetings with other teammates or with team leadership to discuss the goal, your progress and any questions or concerns

  • Providing advice and individualized training on how each teammate can fulfill their responsibilities

  • Working with team members to develop individual milestones that help them track their own progress in addition to the team’s

  • Delivering regular feedback on elements of your progress that are working well and aspects that need improvement

  • Promising, both in word and in action, that you are willing to listen to the concerns of teammates and to answer questions

6. Follow up

After your deadline has passed, follow up with team members to celebrate successes and prepare for future goal-setting. If the team accomplished its goals, reward them and recognize your colleagues’ efforts. These rewards may take the form of recognition in a meeting, a gift from the company or a team lunch. 

Following up in one-on-one meetings can also allow you to gain feedback on what worked well and what could be done better throughout the process of achieving goals. 

Examples of team goals

Team goals can vary widely depending on your company objective or the needs of your team. Here are a few examples of team goals that you can adapt to your unique circumstances:

Improve efficiency

Many teams may aim to improve the productivity of their department and make better use of their resources. Goals to improve efficiency are especially common in teams that are involved in labor-intensive work, such as production and assembly. Efficiency goals can be used in any setting, however. 

For example, your team wants to start submitting advertising campaigns ahead of the deadline to impress your clients. This means that your team needs to work efficiently. Come together and set a goal to submit your campaign a week in advance of the deadline. Then you set other measurable milestones to help meet that goal, such as submitting a draft of the campaign a week from your initial goal-setting meeting.

Generate ideas

Collaboration can yield better ideas than working individually. Because of this, many teams set a goal to generate ideas with another project or task in mind. Generating ideas as a team allows multiple perspectives to contribute to solving a problem, and creates an environment for discussion that can lead to more detailed goals.

For example, a marketing agency has acquired a new client, and that client wants to rebrand their products. The team’s eventual goal is to help this client refresh their logo, their tone and strategy. They may start with the smaller goal of brainstorming some foundational ideas, then narrowing those ideas until they have a specific direction. 

Build morale

While some team goals affect the day-to-day operations or objectives of the company, others aim to improve the team itself. Your team may collaborate to find ways to build the morale of team members. Maybe you want to set a goal to have activities once a week that give employees more time to interact and work together. These types of goals allow team members to network with one another, get to know each other, practice communicating and improve teamwork through a variety of community-building activities.

For example, you want to improve relationships among your team, so you set a collaborative goal to spend more time interacting. After some deliberation, you decide that you will go to lunch one day a week as a team, and at another point in the week, one member of the team will lead the rest in a short team-building exercise.

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