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Small Business Digest


CEO Needs To Set Goals, Lead Communication Efforts

When employees don’t make the correlation between their day-to-day activities and the overarching corporate strategy, there’s a misalignment that will inhibit the success of the organization.

The CEO must lead the charge to help employees align their goals with those of the organization.

This is the mantra of Joel Trammell, himself a founder and CEO of Khorrous.

He adds “a common mistake many CEOs make ist to let important information about vision and values trickle down, rather than personally communicate that information.”

As Trammell points out, “time and misinterpretation can contort key initiatives rendering them unrecognizable, even within small companies.

Trammell is not saying a CEO must train each employee, but rather it is his or her responsibility to clarify intent, clearly communicate goals, and break them down into the fundamental behaviors necessary to be successful.

As he emphasizes, a crucial role of the management team is to coach these fundamentals and nurture their achievement.

Trammell postulates there are two forms of corporate goals.

  • The first is a priority goal, which sets new initiatives that the CEO is asking the company to undertake. They will determine the priorities for a given amount of time.
  • Sustaining goals are the second type, and will capture the ongoing normal operations. From these sets of goals, smaller goals are created for departments and managers, and so on down to each individual.

As an effective way to establish compliance, Trammell believes it is important to mutually set goals with employees.

Their involvement from the onset ensures buy-in and ownership, as well as sets reasonable expectations.

Developing individual goals in this manner ensures they are tied to corporate goals and creates an understanding of how each person contributes to the success of the company.

Trammell also urges goals must be clearly measureable using metrics that help predict business success.

According to Trammell, timeliness is key:

  • Quarterly goals are ideal, and
  • employees should report weekly on the quality and likelihood of achieving their goals within the quarter.

As Trammell suggests, this creates accountability and a focus on getting the right things done well.

In addition, regular status updates keep the CEO abreast of progress and allows for intervention when deliverables are slipping.

Trammell also advises that “it’s important for most people to feel autonomy in their work, yet the goals give clear focus and direction. Autonomy and alignment result in engagement that delivers top performance.”

Trammell continues by saying, “once there is clear alignment in an organization, the CEO must be mindful of continuous improvement and set the bar.

“It is crucial to constantly redefine the fundamentals as the market evolves. When constant improvement becomes the norm, a culture of talent development, high performance, and accountability will prevail,” he concludes.

Joel Trammell, Founder and CEO of  Khorus, Author of The CEO Tightrope: How to Master the Balancing Act of a Successful CEO

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