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Goal Setting
Hasse Jansen, 24 Nov '16

Introducing The Goal Setting Maturity Model

Only 7% of employees fully understand their company's business goals and strategies. Our 5 maturity levels will help you improve your enterprise-wide goal-setting skills.

January and September are typical goal-setting seasons. What will your strategy be for the next 6 months? And how exactly will you translate the strategy into tailored goals for team members? Business literature and theories still haven’t cracked that nut yet.

True, 76% of organizations cascade goals. And 80% of companies have at least one formal system for managing commitments across silos.

Things are looking pretty decent. Until you discover just 20% of managers believe that these systems work well all or most of the time.

Ah! That explains why only 7% of employees fully understand their company’s business goals. How can they ever be expected to help achieve these goals? It’s a recipe for disaster.

So the modest conclusion must be that not all these goal-setting systems are working equally well. Or have not evolved equally far. Now is the time to take the next step.

Catering for constant change

We believe there is one silent killer that makes it hard for companies to properly formulate goals and strategies: constant change.

Client needs change. The competition is always busy. Everything is constantly in motion. 60% of senior leaders revise their goals during the course of the year. Frequently updating goals is the only way you can survive, and your goal-setting systems need to accommodate that.

We’ve developed the Goal Setting Maturity Model for you to discover to how mature your current goal setting systems are. Only when you know that, you’ll know which steps to take next to prepare your company for constant change.

Use the Goal Setting Maturity Model to gradually improve your goal setting in a structured way. Make achieving your most ambitious goals just about inevitable.

5 Stages of The Goal Setting Maturity Model

Whether you take a mature approach to setting goals usually cannot be answered with ‘yes’ or ‘no’. There are countless gradations between “we don’t really do any goal setting” and “our entire company is SMART and agile and ‘everything else’ all the time”.

We’ve found five distinct maturity stages companies can go through as they develop their goal setting capabilities and become more agile. The more advanced goal setting capabilities get, the more business value can be extracted.


Click image to enlarge

Stage 1: Ad hoc

  • Unaware of goal setting process
  • Goal setting unaddressed
  • Dependent on individual
  • No desire for structure.

‘Goal setting’ isn’t on anyone’s agenda. Some people do set goals but mostly unconsciously or in chaotic, inconsistent manner. Nobody experiences a need for improvement. Very task driven.

Stage 2: Exploratory

  • Some primitive goal setting processes
  • No cross-team alignment
  • Some informal leaders surface.

‘Goal setting’ is explored by some but ignored by others. Some simple goal setting structures, like SMART goals, appear around the company fragmentally, as experiments by individuals. Goal setting pioneers get occasional recognition from peers.

Stage 3: Defined

  • Proper connection between tasks and goals
  • Some cross team alignment
  • Metrics defined (KPIs)
  • Formal leader assures goal setting quality and compliance.

‘Goal setting’ is growing up and being recognized as a skill. A champion is assigned to oversee and promote proper goal setting practices company wide. Connecting the performance of tasks to the pursuit of commercial goals (KPIs) is more rule than exception.

Stage 4: Integrated

  • Solid vertical and horizontal integration of goals
  • Goal setting acknowledged as company-wide asset
  • Checks and policies as part of culture
  • Peer reviews and no need for strong leader.

‘Goal setting’ is now mature and valued across the organization. Teams and departments all speak the same ‘goal setting language’ and collaborate cross discipline to create a harmonious network of goals spanning from company mission to concrete tasks.

Stage 5: Agile Strategy

  • Self-managing teams and departments
  • Setting and pursuing goals autonomously, in line with strategy
  • Continuous testing of hypotheses warrants perpetual evolvement of goals
  • Structured learning and initiation of innovation as part of culture.

Agile ‘goal setting’ practices have become the backbone of the organization. People are encouraged to experiment add value and wherever they see fit. Individuals operate like entrepreneurs, but always keep an overview to align their efforts with others. Change is the only constant and people feel comfortable with that, setting up the company for a sustainable and innovative future.

Ready to grow up?

Ask yourself where you and your company fit into this picture.

Which of the five goal setting stage descriptions sounds like any other day at the office for you?

Take these steps to get better at goal setting every day…

  • Find out which stage you are currently in
  • Look at the next stage to discover your ‘goal setting’ goals
  • Repeat to gradually get better at goal setting.

Ready to enter goal setting maturity stages 4 and 5?

Try Boardview!