Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

May 05 2014

The Game-Changing Approach To Setting Goals With Your Team

By David McMillin

Goal Setting

Remember that office meeting where you and your team members agreed to goals and outlined steps to achieve them? Now, do you remember the follow-up meeting where everyone realized that no one was actually taking those steps?

No matter what role you serve in the meetings industry, you’ve probably found yourself in a similar situation. Making plans feels productive, but unfortunately, bringing those plans to life can be very challenging with a diverse set of opinions, personalities and work styles.

“Creating goals that teams and organizations will actually accomplish isn’t just a matter of defining what needs doing,” Heidi Grant Halvorson, associate director, Columbia Business School’s Motivational Science Center and featured speaker at PCMA’s Education Conference in June, writes in the most recent issue of Harvard Business Review. “You also have to spell out the specifics of getting it done, because you can’t assume that everyone involved will know how to move from concept to delivery.”

SEE ALSO: Moving Your Team To Winning Results

Grant Halvorson believes there is one essential piece to spelling out those details: if-then planning. If-then planning is grounded in an almost mathematical approach. If x does this, then y will do that.

For example, let’s say you’ve set a goal of 5,000 attendees at your upcoming meeting. Everyone is on-board with the registration goal, but the number is simply a figure the Board suggested. Reaching it is another story. If-then planning sets certain triggers that might activate based on numbers and dates. If we don’t have 3,000 attendees by the early bird registration deadline, then we will invest in another direct mailing. If we haven’t achieved 85 percent of our goal within two weeks of the meeting, then we will initiate a personal calling campaign.

There’s concrete proof that an if-then approach can deliver some serious results, too. More than 200 studies have proven that if-then planners are 300 percent more likely to achieve their goals.

“Organizations squander enormous amounts of time, money, ideas and talent in pursuit of poorly expressed goals,” Grant Halvorson writes. “If-then planning improves team performance by sharpening groups’ focus and prompting members to carry out key activities in a timely manner.” 

SEE ALSO: Inspiring Your Team For Success

Want to hear more from Grant Halvorson live and in-person? Click here to explore the complete PCMA Education Conference schedule, and register today to be part of the summer’s best educational experience in Toronto.

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