team goals

An approach to team goals that skyrockets employee engagement

Are you sick of the same old team goal setting script? 

We’ve done a lot of work with teams; we’ve met thousands of leaders and their team members and over time we’ve found conversations amongst teams naturally gear towards output and results.

Team days are often pre-planned, the agenda is sent out stating the purpose, and hidden amongst the agenda items is a little treasure referring to team goals.


The Typical Team Goal Setting Scenario

Let’s imagine you were part of this fictional team:

You receive an invite for a day to talk about team goals, what excites you more?

  1. Getting the team together to create a set of individual team goals
  2. Knowing the times when scones and sandwiches will be open slather to scoff, while you watch the existing goals get mashed into a new form with the latest buzzword
  3. Knowing Michel will be there so you can talk through your ideas for the next event

If you like point one, you could be thinking ‘How do you contain the excitement?’. The list of options is already generating in your mind and you might be able to get your hands on some new stationery to plan out your team goals.

Maybe it’s point two, I mean, who doesn’t love a good scone right?!

Or potentially the option that appeals to you is point three and you’re thinking, ‘Finally, Michel is cornered. Hopefully, I can get a word in about the project’. You’re happy to wait while Michel enjoys their third scone. ‘Wow, Michel really loves those scones’.

So, the scene is set, the personal motivators are personally known, a series of goals are generated, and a list circulates. Discussion and refinement is done and then voila you have a fresh set of team goals. Simple.

We PT folk like to challenge your thinking and if you are up for it, we want you to consider team goal setting beyond the logistics of setting up a day and making the goals the output and focus. Let’s consider the importance of goals in the context of our team development program, Great Team Framework.

We want to go down a layer and look at goals that reconnect people to the team, honour their strengths and support company values (which ultimately leads to better results on BAU goals). What we’re talking about is team culture goals.


Why bother with team culture goals?

Team culture goals go beyond the BAU and generate opportunities to explore, define and progress the team. These are the goals that drive teams towards things more magnificent and impactful than what could be done as individuals. Cultural goals usually tie into what the collective cares about and what they would like action due to their shared values.

These types of goals create a bond between team members and are more significant than the business as the usual stuff. They are projects that contribute to helping support and leverage team culture and can have a more significant impact on the overall work.

In 2018, with our charity partner Hands Across The Water, Pragmatic Thinking headed to Thailand. Thanks to the generosity of family, friends and corporate partners, PT raised over $40,000 with every cent going directly to the two projects we worked on.

Take a look at what happened during the Thailand project below.


Cultural goals allow your team to leave a legacy and to be part of something that’ll leave a lasting impact on a local, national or global community. These goals haven’t be handed to the team on a silver tray, no-way, the team have chosen to work hard for these because they are important to the collective and their team culture.


How to create team culture goals

Give your team some space and ask them to ponder on the following:

If your team were living out the true expression of their team identity, what would that look like, and what would they be achieving?

What would be the epic things they would like to do?

This is the starting point for coming up with ideas for team culture goals.

The process and purpose are purely focused on allowing team members to create team culture goals that have meaning and can make a difference. If individuals know their strengths, would it not be more suitable to allow them to participate in creating the collective goals?

Allow each individual to create a list of goals that they would personally like to do (with no limit or budget, either linked to the business or not). Then, ask people to gather and self-select work pairs, combine their goals and choose their top ten. Then, form groups and select your top five.

Bring these top five goals to the entire team, clarify any team culture goals that aren’t clear, don’t pitch any (or try to sway the group to your side) and as a group, vote. Allow each person to have seven votes and to mark the goals they like until all their votes are gone. They can put all or some of their votes on a goal, and it’s up to them. People may still choose their own, and others may disregard theirs due to their attraction to others.

We recommend the team focus on the top five. This does not stop members from driving other goals, including the ones that aren’t on the board. The top five are what the majority have chosen, and these will be the collective team focus for a 12-month period.

As a team, discuss how you will make these visible and work to achieve these within 12 months. Ensure regular updates and define the progress markers.


Final Thoughts

So, there you have it. Now you may think, ‘These are still team goals’ but there is a distinct difference — the process. This approach to team goal setting is different; it’s personal, collaborative, and connected to values.

Your people already understand the need for team business goals (BAU), but what makes a difference to employee engagement and connection is having something that helps the team to connect, learn more about each other and achieve something meaningful as a collective.

The journey to achieving these team culture goals then becomes a story, a legacy, and people start sharing those memories with new recruits, clients, and everyone in between.

Give it a go, what is there to lose?

If you’d like to dig into this topic deeper with the help of an experienced facilitator and a proven framework, take a look at our Great Team Framework program.