4 Mistakes to Avoid

What's so fundamentally different between objectives that are part of a performance review and managed goals? Openness and sharing. Few of us would publicly reveal our performance reviews because they're about us. Goals are just about our work. Here are 4 preventable mistakes to avoid when sharing objectives.

Disjointed and Misaligned Goals

Goal setting is a well-known form of commitment. When everyone works toward the same objective(s), the feeling of belonging to a group is reinforced. And with group membership comes buy-in and commitment. When goals are weakly connected, the sense of common purpose diminishes. This can happen, for instance, when you focus your entire organization on a single team's effort.

What to do: When you align goals, start with a few well-scoped company objectives that are inclusive of all teams. It's not always possible to do so while retaining a meaningful objective. It's okay to leave some teams out as long as it's for a short period.

Toxic Work Environment

.Every system with a grade comes with competition. We want to come out on top - especially in competitive functions like sales. It can be healthy when it comes to goals as long as employees perceive the system as fair.

What to do: Make sure your work environment is supportive. Be on the lookout for unethical behavior - such as sandbagging or office politics. If it happens, be ruthless or risk losing the trust of your team.

Unclear Expectations

Employees shouldn't be punished for not achieving their goals. People crumble under pressure mostly because of excessive fears of failure. It doesn't mean underperforming should have no consequence, but be transparent about it. The worse that can happen is employees fearing imaginary consequences and working the system to avoid them or make sure they're not the worst offenders on the team.

What to do: Set clear policies around goals and enforce them throughout the organization. For instance, Netflix is known to be very demanding with its employees, but is also very upfront about it and offers generous severance packages if things don't work out.


With shared goals, we potentially address everyone in the organization, not just our managers. This includes our peers who will keep our estimates honest as well as other coworkers who are less familiar with our duties. Goals explain and give context. They aren't meant to confuse and impress. In bigger organizations, goals can become an ice breaker, a common language. They can put your organization's culture into words.

What to do: Everyone should write their goals as much as possible in layman's terms. A good litmus test would be to select a few goals at random and have someone in a different part of the organization read and explain them.