Ever struggle with goals (collectively, everyone raises their hands)? Have the staff you lead ever struggled with goals (collectively, everyone raises both of their hands)? We believe in goals and understand their importance, but why is it that they so often fall flat early in the process. Rarely do our ministries see significant improvement and growth but somehow seem to stay the same year after year. It’s possible that our approach to goals is similar to everyone’s approach to New Year Resolutions – and we all know how well those go.

I truly believe that there is a better way to approach both personal and team goals. They should never be random, but rooted in collaborative evaluation and infused with systematic accountability. Those are the kinds of goals you and your team will crush.

Yesterday I wrote about team evaluation. Reviewing the past helps you get a better perspective of current reality and future direction. Completing a SWOT analysis of your ministry will help you see the “Big Rocks” upon which you’ll set personal goals. Check out yesterday’s post first.

Once the “Big Rocks” are established it’s time to focus on personal evaluation and goal setting. This process can be enlightening, helpful and motivational – so treat it as such.

My next step is to send my team a personal evaluation worksheet I put together a couple years ago. This evaluation gives everyone on the team an opportunity for them to speak into how I might better lead them. I already have a good handle on the strengths and weaknesses of my team members, so personal evaluations help me evaluate if they have an accurate understanding of their job performance which allows me to better discern where I need to lean in more with each individual of my team. Below is a portion of the email they receive:

Personal Evaluation

  1. What do you feel are your top 3 gifts/talents? Is there a talent that you feel you have that you would like to use more this year?
  2. What do you feel are your top 3 accomplishments at work this year?
  3. What do you feel are your top 3 challenges you need to work on, or areas of improvement you feel you’d like to focus on?

Make a list of the following things I can do to help you:

  • What should I continue doing that you feel is helpful or you like?
  • What should I start doing that I am not right now?
  • What should I stop doing?

At our next one-on-one meeting we discuss their answers and I add any insight I might have. In this meeting I bring my next worksheet that we will begin to fill out together, the S.M.A.R.T. Goals worksheet.

S.M.A.R.T. is another acronym that stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-oriented

S.M.A.R.T. goals help improve achievement and success. It also brings clarity to exactly what is expected and the measures used to determine if the goal is achieved. Most importantly, with the completion of this simple worksheet, each person will walk away with very specific goals and an action plan to make it happen (Click here to download the S.M.A.R.T. goal sheet I use).

In our one-on-one, and based on their own self-evaluation, we come up with at least 3 personal ministry goals, very simply stated. Each team member is responsible for completing a worksheet for each goal that they will bring back to a follow up meeting where we will finalize goals.

In previous years, we came up with some fantastic goals, that looked great on paper, but without the added thought-out action steps they really fizzled half-way through the year. Making our goals S.M.A.R.T. significantly reduced the realigning mid-year, and created some energy and excitement knowing our goals were both attainable and measurable with built-in accountability. At least we feel smarter about our goals!