Goal setting can be a highly productive way to improve performance as we move along our loss prevention career path. It can help us to better see forward progress, building confidence and momentum as abilities are recognized, competencies are enhanced and goals are met.
But before we can improve performance, we have to be able to establish what we consider to be “improvement.” In order to be most effective, goals should be tangible and realistic. They should be relevant to our jobs and to our careers, consistent with our skills and abilities, progressive in nature and practice, and focused on positive career management. We have to identify a means for measuring success, as such measurements help to communicate values and establish priorities within an organization.
Typically, we begin by looking at these components from a broad or global perspective, and then break them down into manageable and measurable elements where we can see impact and influence, and show results that are real and lasting.
In order to maximize the performance and productivity of the department as a whole, the dynamic of the team should be our first point of reference. In order to maximize our overall performance, we should hold the team accountable to specific and measurable goals. When establishing team goals, some of the factors we should always consider would include:
- Do the members of our team have the knowledge, experience and skills necessary to accomplish our objectives? If so, what steps can we take to maximize performance? If not, what do we need to do to get our team where it needs to be?
- Does the team have clear goals? More importantly, are those goals clearly understood?
- How will success be measured? How will the team know when goals are being achieved? Success benchmarks help build confidence and momentum along the loss prevention career path.
- Have those goals been discussed individually and as a group, with input from the team? Does the team feel that their input will be heard and respected? Team input drives ownership, which will impact both efforts and results.
- Are the goals seen as important to the team? Will they have the commitment necessary to achieve those goals?
- Are the goals realistic? Do we have the necessary time, resources, skills, abilities and support to accomplish our goals?
- Do our goals challenge the team to use their skills and abilities? Goals that challenge our talents help keep us focused and motivated.
- Have we looked for potential roadblocks and brainstormed for potential solutions?
- Are there training programs that can help us reach our goals and would be productive for the team? Based on our abilities and limitations as a department, is that a viable option?
- Does the team feel that they have the support of management? Will management support creative thinking in order to accomplish goals? Support instills confidence and drives results.
- Do we have the skills, the means, the motives and the discipline to effectively communicate? The importance of communication is often discussed, but our ability to develop an effective communication strategy that powers interaction internally within the team and externally throughout the organization cannot be overstated.
By defining and effectively communicating the goals and values of the department we are able to infuse heightened levels of employee satisfaction, loyalty and productivity. We evoke the spirit of the team and forge the effort and the commitment that leads to results.
While our goals should be aligned with the vision and strategic aspirations of the organization as a whole, they must also be crafted to the specific needs and abilities of the individual members of the team. Important steps would include:
- Assessing the individual’s abilities and interests in light of their career goals. What are their core competencies? Do they have the interests and aptitudes to progress? Where do they show the most potential? Where do they show the greatest need for development?
- Reflecting on the unique qualities of the individual—Their attitudes and behaviors, their drive and ambition, their maturity and demeanor, their diplomacy, their decision-making, their flexibility, their professionalism and their overall growth potential.
- Considering the individual’s self-assessment and self-reflections. Where do they see themselves going? What do they consider to be their strengths and developmental needs? What are their career goals? Are their goals realistic and/or attainable? Do they have a plan?
- Considering the opportunities and limitations that can (or can’t) be realized within the structure and resources available within your department and your company.
Developing meaningful and productive goals will help your team members to develop a career plan that can focus their efforts and guide them through their careers. By identifying what we want to achieve and outlining a plan that can help us to get there we are better able to focus our efforts, work with more purpose and direction and keep us on our desired course.
By capitalizing on opportunities to enhance our knowledge and education, we are making an investment in our own future. To learn more about investing in your career, goal setting, and the certification process, visit losspreventionfoundation.org.