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As a manager, you will more than likely be required to set objectives those that you manage.

So how do you go about doing this?

Think about what results are to be achieved

There are probably some results that your team has to achieve. Chances are the results will be dependent on all of your team delivering their specific contributions so make a point of linking personal objectives to team results.

Specify outcomes, not actions

Start writing objectives in terms of outcomes or deliverables. A one day reduction in the monthly reporting cycle is an example of a clear outcomes based measure. Reviewing the month end process is an action.

Ask yourself, can I measure this?

If you cannot come up with a way of determining whether the individual is on or off track in achieving the objective, chances are it is not sufficiently clear.

Get the other person to tell you what they think they are being asked to deliver

Seems blindingly obvious but I wonder how many managers use this strategy? Simply asking the person to play back their understanding of what you are expecting can eliminate confusion.

The Bottom Line

Truth is, setting clear objectives can appear simple in theory but is often a real challenge in practice.


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