Migrating geese are nature’s perfect example of setting goals as a team. Knowing their destination, geese use their V-shaped formation to fly more efficiently, save energy, and travel farther. In this pattern, they’re also better able to communicate and keep an eye on one another’s progress.

Team motivation soars when everyone has a stake in setting goals and feels connected to the outcome. But creating a clear guideline and staying on top of each person’s contribution is only part of the equation.

A team’s success also depends on its ability to quickly adapt in today’s workplace where nothing is set in stone. Teams that plan ahead and have tools in place to manage sudden shifts in direction give their goals greater stability.

Here are a few ways your team can set a course for their goal and stay on track no matter how—or how quickly—the goalposts move.

Team Brainstorming Builds A Strong Goal Foundation

Laying solid groundwork for any goal-setting strategy means ensuring everyone involved is clear on their target and their specific role in helping the team hit the mark. And there’s no better way to do that than to bring the team together to collectively brainstorm goals, priorities, and benchmarks.

Instead of simply assigning tasks, tap into the team’s expertise. Each member knows what they do best and how long a task might take, and can also identify skills that other team members may not see in themselves. Let them decide how to break the goal down into small, specific, and manageable action steps, work out a timeline, and apply their unique strengths to get the job done.

When a team can define their own roles as well as work out ways to collaborate, they’ll feel empowered, invested in the outcome, and they may even challenge themselves to take on some new responsibilities.

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Setting goals as a team also requires preparing for any surprises. While it’s inevitable that not everything will go according to plan, it’s easier for teams to problem solve when they’ve anticipated obstacles or sudden shifts ahead of time.

Incorporate “expecting the unexpected” into the team’s brainstorming process. Having insight into solutions for potential pitfalls puts them in a position of control whenever the unforeseen occurs. While they can’t predict everything, there’s plenty they can prepare for. Plus, they’ll know to be on the lookout for any stumbling blocks along the way.

Now, what can a team do with all the brilliance they’ve brought to the table? They can leverage a tool like Trello Enterprise to bring their brainstorming plans together in one central location. Trello boards help teams stay on track by clearly laying out their goals, deliverables, and due dates while also giving them the flexibility to make adjustments in case of an unexpected change or delay.

Setting Goals Creates A Company-Wide Connection

When teams tie their short-term goals to the long-term mission of the company, they see their contribution as part of the bigger picture. This is powerful team motivation.

A team wants to know they’re busy making a difference, not just staying busy. According to a McKinsey survey, “contributing to society and creating meaningful work” rank highest on the list of priorities for people at work.

One goal-setting approach to foster that connection between team and company goals is establishing objectives and key results (OKRs). Objectives are the ultimate goal a company is aiming for, and key results are the measurable metrics teams use to monitor their progress and know when they’ve hit a milestone. With OKRs, teams can see how their smaller goals provide tangible value and move the company forward.

For example, say one company’s objective is to improve employee engagement by 20%. Each department would then set a specific goal using a key result, or metric, in order to measure their success in contributing to that objective. To increase engagement in their department, the marketing team set a key result to create a career development program to help employees upgrade their skills by the end of Q2. The team met this key result, and the investment in marketing employees’ careers boosted engagement by 25% on the company’s next annual survey.

The beauty of using OKRs is that it’s easy to pivot if something’s not clicking. If a team’s key results aren’t consistently leading them closer to the objective, then they’ll know it’s time to rethink elements of their plan.

A flexible platform like Trello Enterprise allows your team to track team- and company-wide goals and make the most of those OKRs. The V2MOM framework is ideal for setting goals from the highest level down to daily tasks, giving team members a visual of how their work serves the company as a whole. And when their strategy requires a shift, they’ll have an effective format to follow that helps them stay aligned with taking everyone to the next level.

Revisit Goals To Stay The Course

Teams can only set goals with the information they have on hand. To guard against setbacks once a goal is in motion, teams need to regularly review their plans and keep each other informed should they need to revise the goal whenever new details emerge.

Teams should set up a standing appointment to check in. These meetings are an opportunity to revisit their goals, get feedback on workload distribution, and find out if there are any concerns about what’s ahead. Teams can meet weekly, monthly, or quarterly depending on how far out the deadline is.

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In between these check-ins, communication is key. No one can predict what’s around every corner, but when teams are kept in the loop along the way, everyone stays on top of their tasks and can strategize how to change course on the fly should unforeseen events arise.

Trello Enterprises’s shared, flexible workspaces allow teams to revise daily and weekly goals in real time and immediately notify everyone involved of any shift in direction. Daily Update and Slack Power-Ups allow teams to stay in touch at all times. They can recategorize and reprioritize tasks using labels or a Gantt chart or quickly switch up deadlines on their Timeline view.

It Takes A Village (Or A Team)

To be most effective, setting goals shouldn’t happen in a vacuum. Involving teams in the decision-making process encourages accountability, cooperation, and commitment.

Trello supports teams by providing them a tool that takes real life into account and offers them the transparency, flexibility, and agility they need to build out goals and build in buffers.

Teamwork makes the dream work for a reason. Meeting a goal is more than reaching a specific destination. It’s one layer of the bedrock a company builds upon so it can continue to grow and thrive. When teams are dialed into the ways their work contributes to the company’s success through goals, they know they’ll reap the benefits of each victory, too. And that’s a goal everyone can get behind. 

How teams can master setting goals in an ever-changing environment