10 steps to improve team collaboration with goals

A good team is a team that works together toward a common goal. So when we’re looking to improve team collaboration, it makes sense to first look at how we’re setting, sharing and working towards goals together.

Today we’ll share some must-haves for ensuring your team can collaborate seamlessly on shared milestones, and actually achieve them!

Start with great goal setting

Before getting into the how, let’s make sure the goals you’re setting for your team are going to be effective at contributing to the bigger picture. You’re probably familiar with the SMART goals framework, let’s break down the components of that.

1. Set specific goals

A specific goal is a meaningful goal. “Raising brand awareness”, “improving customer service” or “generating more sales” are not goals. Goals should provide enough information to clearly communicate to the whole team what is required, which will help your team collaborate effectively. On top of being specific, goals must be measurable.

2. Make goals measurable

We all know there isn’t much benefit to goals that can’t be measured, but some are easier to quantify than others. All goals should have either a numerical target attached or at least a checklist of milestones that need to be met before the goal is achieved. This way, your team can celebrate progress as you go, and clearly know when the goal has been achieved!

3. Ensure goals are achievable and realistic

When setting these targets or milestones, measures and deadlines should never be pulled out of thin air. But what should we base them on? Where available, consult past data to see what previous results looked like. Consider these benchmarks as well as the resources available. Do you want to achieve a result that’s going to double last quarter’s results? It’s doable, but you may need to allocate extra professional development, man-power or better equipment to get it done. Determining strong targets will help your team collaborate to get to the next level without setting unattainable expectations.

4. Only set goals that are relevant

Any goals you set for your team must be aligned to higher-level organisational goals. If they don’t contribute to the big picture, why are you working on them?

Not only does this alignment make goals more meaningful, but it also helps team members understand how they contribute to the bigger picture, providing a sense of purpose. This can then be kept accountable using continuous feedback, allowing staff to communicate with their manager and vice versa about how they are progressing and where they might need help.

5. Set deadlines

Having deadlines on goals adds a sense of urgency and motivation to complete them on time but also helps with planning and prioritisation. Ensure your team knows when things need to be done and get reminded when the due date is looming. Better yet, check-in on progress periodically to make sure things are on track.

Get the tools to manage goals and get them done

1. Keep things centralised

Visibility is crucial to clear communication, so the first step is to have one centralised place for goals to be managed across your team. This enables everyone to see what the priorities are, where they fit in, and how they can help contribute and collaborate as a team.

2. Track goal progress together

It’s one thing for the whole team to be able to see its goals, but to see how everyone is tracking? Even better.

It’s essential to be recording your goals in a system that allows for progress to be tracked in real-time. This helps keep everyone motivated by seeing their team’s progress, tangibly, as it happens.

Leaders can also see what goals might require extra resources, support or help removing roadblocks, as well as which goals are running ahead of schedule and could be reassessed.

3. Align goals between leaders and direct reports

Collaboration Nirvana happens when goals are not only visible to everyone in the team but goals can actually be aligned between managers and direct reports or shared between peers.

As a team leader, think about how your team members can individually help contribute to your own high-level goals, then cascade these down to your direct reports and let them set their own goals to help fulfill them.

4. Stay agile

A lot can change in a year, a quarter, or even a month. It’s important to regularly reassess goals if there have been changes to resourcing or organisational priorities, or something has otherwise become more or less realistic to hit.

Having a continuous feedback process in place will help to uncover these changes, and make adjustments to these goals as required. It’s therefore vital to set your goals in a system that’s quick, easy and can be used on the go.

5. Use goals to shape roles

Rather than relying on static position descriptions, individual employee goals can be designed to shape individual roles. This turns a mere list of tasks or responsibilities into a clear set of measurable and actionable targets. Team members still know what they need to get done, but it’s now more achievable, and expectations around results are clear.

Next steps – improving team collaboration

Those are our major tips for improving team collaboration using goals. Have these inspired you to make any changes to how you set goals for your team?

If you’re managing a remote or hybrid team, we’ve developed a dedicated toolkit that includes best-practice templates, guides and checklists to help you manage better (because lets face it, it can be a challenge!). Download the hybrid teams toolkit. If you’re interested in seeing how performance and goal management software can help you improve team collaboration, get in touch for a demo of intelliHR.