Yours, Mine or Ours — Whose Goal is it Anyway?

by Burl Stamp

Part 4 in Our Series: A Smarter Approach to S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Even the best crafted, precisely-targeted organizational goals are ineffective unless they are embraced by the team responsible for implementing the tactics to achieve them. That’s why the “A” in our smarter S.M.A.R.T. goals model represents “agreed-upon.”

The first, most important step in setting goals that are enthusiastically adopted by individuals and teams is to pay attention to two of the other components in our S.M.A.R.T. goals model: making goals meaningful and realistic. Tying a goal to the core purpose of the organization’s work – in health care, how it impacts patients’ care – helps make its achievement more meaningful. Even financial goals can be linked to the short- and long-term fiscal health of the organizations and its ability to continue to invest in technology and services that will ultimately make care better for patients and families.

Healthcare leadership with S.M.A.R.T Goals

Additional Tips for Gaining Agreement on Goals

Involve team members in crafting leading goals and tactical plans

While many financial, operational or quality goals may be set at an organizational level or dictated by regulation, teams can and should be involved in the problem-solving that sets specific leading goals to achieve targets. For instance, teams can be involved in leading goals related to patient placement and education to achieve organizational patient fall reduction goals. (For more detail on setting effective leading goals, see our earlier blog on the importance of making goals specific.)

Spend time talking about goals, not just posting them

Organizations and department leaders too often distribute well-written goals – either via email or simply tacked on a bulletin board – without giving teams the chance to really understand their intent. The opportunity to ask questions and to discuss how the goal will be achieved is crucial for staff to truly embrace the objective and be committed to success.

Celebrate success; course-correct for shortfalls

Discussing a goal once is hardly enough for a team to fully support its achievement. Updating plans to achieve individual goals has to be a regular occurrence at department meetings, during rounding with staff and at huddles. We’ll talk more about how to effectively “track” goal status in our final post in this series on smarter S.M.A.R.T. goals.

To be well accepted by teams, the path to success has to been realistic. In part 5 of our series, we’ll explore why it is so important to make the accomplishment of a goal a stretch – but not impossible.

Stamp & Chase offers unexpected solutions to universal challenges facing leading healthcare organizations. To learn more about our robust tools and approaches that help healthcare leaders transform patient and staff engagement, visit Stamp & Chase.

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