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How to Tie Your Annual Goals to Results

December 21, 2022

9 minread

byCasey Clark

Casey Clark
Casey Clark

CEO, Co-Founder

Chicago, IL

As a business partner, he helps his clients get a holistic view of their financial health by slowing down to talk about numbers. Then, he breaks down even complex problems into one or two elements to help them break through their barriers of growth.

Every year owners set out with a vision and business plan. But as time passes, it can become easier to drift off course and away from that original plan. You’ve probably outlined big goals for your business, but the closer you get to your deadline, you might find yourself scrambling to see how your results align with the targets you set out.

It’s not too late to hit your goals. This article will focus on creating a living document and process to track your goals and hold your team accountable for hitting those goals.

Step 1: Envision the Future

Every business owner should have an annual plan outlining clear goals for the year. Beyond that, you should have a clear vision of where the business will be in 3-5 years down the road.

When finalizing the macro goals, you will want to identify the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you will use to track the success of your goals month-to-month. Metrics are an excellent way to measure progress over time and understand what is working or not working. By keeping your metrics in one place, you always have a place to come back to when it’s time to measure plan vs. actual results.

Goal setting is vital to the success of your business. But goals mean nothing if you don’t stick to them.

Once you have created your goals and measurable KPIs, you must communicate them with your team to ensure they are achieved. To see the most success, you need to establish buy-in with your team and hold tension and accountability to those goals.

Step 2: Ensure Buy-in

As important as it is to set goals, you must have buy-in from your team to reach those goals. Regardless of how long you spend developing a strategic plan for your business, your team holds the key to achieving those goals. And if your team lacks buy-in, you won’t be able to move the needle in your business.

When pushing your goals to the finish line, you need buy-in and support from your team. The more support you get from your employees, the more productive they will be in executing your goals and initiatives.

Here is a simple way to measure buy-in with your team.

Buy-in equation

Quality of the Idea x Buy-in Level = Execution

When presenting an idea, you must answer two questions:

  • What is the quality of the idea?
  • What is the buy-in level of the employee?

By comparing the quality of the idea with the employee’s buy-in, you can gauge the execution level. The more excited your employees are to complete a task, the higher the execution level, meaning the higher the likelihood it will be completed.

Unfortunately, not all of your employees will be psyched to execute your goals all the time. Luckily, you can take steps to encourage buy-in and ensure your team stays engaged and productive.

  1. Communicate the vision. Buy-in starts with understanding the why. If you can walk your employees through your vision from start to finish, it helps outline how they can impact the organization.
  2. Involve the team and personalize tasks. In addition to explaining the why you can set your team up for success by ensuring you assign tasks based on their individual strengths. Explain how each person’s role is vital to the outcome. If possible, allow your employees to take part in the goal setting.
  3. Stay connected, and schedule a follow-up. When working towards a goal, stay connected with your team, and ensure everyone is on the same page. Encourage employees to update you when challenges arise so you can help problem-solve.
  4. Address resistance. Some employees will lack the desired buy-in. As a leader, it’s important to address resistance head-on. If an employee is resistant, schedule a 1-on-1 to learn more and realign your vision.
  5. Be prepared to pivot. Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Sometimes that means mid-course corrections. Other times, it means scrapping the plan and starting from scratch. Assuming you have the right team in place, ask for feedback, and adjust the game plan.

The more buy-in you get from more of your employees, the more productive they will be in executing your shared goals and initiatives throughout the year. But getting your employees’ buy-in is only as good as the execution. To ensure projects are completed, you must hold tension to those goals.

Step 3: Tension and Accountability

Buy-in ensures your team members are aligned, focused, and clear on their contribution to an overall vision. But buy-in alone won’t ensure tasks are completed —the success of your employees and your team hinges upon accountability. As a leader, it is important that you not only hold yourself accountable for hitting your monthly and quarterly goals but also hold tension to goals set, creating a culture of accountability on your team.

One way to keep your team accountable is to hold consistent recurring meetings.

Recurring meetings with your team allows you to identify challenges before they can set you back on your goals. Through these meetings, you can identify trends and course-correct along the way.

Contrary to popular belief, accountability meetings are not meant to micromanage employees. If done correctly, they’re a tool to create an environment where employees feel supported.

To set up recurring meetings with your employees, determine how often you should meet and stick to it. Consider how best to structure the meeting to achieve the goals you’ve set for it. Participants should prepare ahead of time, come to the meeting ready to check in on the goals, and review progress. These meetings are about open, proactive communication. They’re a time to re-assess and set new goals for the next meeting, walking through the steps to achieve each new goal.

Providing a safe space for your team members to bring topics and get the support they need will help the team succeed in their goals. Developing a plan for your quarter and applying this framework is an effective way to keep your business on track all year.

If you’re not sure where to start, you don’t have to go at it alone. Schedule a free two-hour session with Cultivate Advisors to dig into your business to uncover bottlenecks and develop a roadmap based on where you are in your business and where you would like to be. With this roadmap, you’ll have a tangible plan you can implement to reach your long-term goals.

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