First, I'd just like to say that your podcast has been a life saver for me. I'm new to management (within the last year) and I've put into practice many of the things you've mentioned (one-on-ones, the feedback model, how to do a review, etc.) They've all contributed to the growing success of my team. So, thank you.

One of the things I find difficult to do, related to employee reviews, is setting goals. I know you spent some time during the employee review podcast on this, but I'd really be interested in a more in-depth discussion. I feel having relevant and measurable goals is extremely important, but I struggle with creating them for each individual person. Setting departmental goals is very easy for me, but it's difficult at the individual level. Some discussion points could be:

1. Customizing goals and their delivery based on personality type.
2. Types of goals (personal, goals based on contributions to department goals, etc)
3. Guidelines for defining and measuring goals.
4. Suggestions for managing goals throughout the year.

Again, thank you for what you're doing. You've made the life of a Network Engineer turned manager much, much easier.

French Williams

Brent's picture

What if you sat down with each employee and said, "I'd like you to have, say, three goals for the coming year. What do you think those might be?" And collaborate with them on that.

Mark's picture
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Thanks for the kind words. It means a lot to us that you have benefited from our hard work!

You're right - goal setting IS important, but we didn't get into it in those casts in a great deal of detail.

We have a couple of future casts queued up about doing goal setting, and hope to address your concerns.

I will say this - unless everyone has the same job who reports to you (claims adjusters, mechanical repairmen), I would be VERY cautious about goals based upon personality, or behavioral style. The work's gotta get done, regardless of whom you have on your team.

Brent's suggestion is also one we recommend, though our process takes a bit of time (though it can run concurrently to the review prep process). The fact is, this is usually an iterative process.

Promise we'll cover this in detail in a cast or two.


frwillia's picture

Thanks for the replies. I appreciate the input.

As a company, we have what we call IDP's (Individual Development Plans) that are about developing our employees and setting goals toward that development. With those, I work with each employee on setting those goals, but these IDPs are independant of the review process. For whatever reason, I didn't even consider this with review goals, so thanks for the advice Brent.

With reviews, goals are so important. Whether or not they achieve them will reflect on their salary increases, and when it comes to review time, that's all anyone's interested in. I suppose one of the reason's I didn't think to get my employee's input on goals is because I knew they would set the bar too low (making sure they got that extra percentage raise). However, knowing that, I should also realize it's my job to convince them to raise the bar a little higher and challenge themselves.

Again, thanks for the input and I'm looking forward to those goal setting podcasts!


Mark's picture
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You've got it. Good post.

It is your responsibility to get more out of your team. It's helpful to allow everyone to come up with their goals, and then aggregate them, and show everyone how their low goals won't get the team where it needs to be. Facilitating a session where they figure out how to do more can be helpful (but not trivial - don't just waltz into it).


Brent's picture

This has sparked some thoughts, which I'm going to share for what they're worth.

I think that, if I were to restart One-on-Ones today, I'd integrate goal-setting with my One-on-Ones. When giving feedback, after getting a response to the "What could you do differently?" question, I might choose one I felt worthwhile and say, "Great; let's check up on that during our next One-on-One, okay?" And that would become a goal that would go into the employee's file, which we'd check up on each week.

It's similar to the "How To Fire Someone" method of integrating the desired behavior change into the One-on-Ones, though at this point the "problem" is at a small enough scale that you wouldn't need specific action plans or detailed progress reports.


may's picture

Two other aspect that I hope you can include in the cast are:

1. How to successfully set and manage stretch goals.
My company encourages setting stretch goals. But since goals are tied to increase (as French mentioned), how can we make this work?
How can I encourage my employee to stretch beyond reasonably achievable (not low) goal without jeopardising their performance review.

2. In an area where new initiatives can be valuable, employees should be rewarded for coming up with more goals than others. How do you measure people who have A+ in all his three goals against another who sets six goals for himself and get one A+, four A's, and one B?
My company use a weighted percentage now, in which case the first employee gets a 100% while the second will get only 93%. In many cases, the second employee creates more value.

Thanks! I have to echo everyone here. Thank you for doing what you do. The benefit is far and wide.


Mark's picture
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Great discussion.

Brent, you're touching on something that I've always done in my one on ones - integrating goals discussions. Sorry I haven't been clear about this in casts - there's never the time. Hopefully, everyone is beginning to see the power of the MT performance management system of feedback, coaching, one on ones, and development. It's easy when you put pieces of them together... and you stop shying away from developing folks.

May - Set a stretch goal with a certain reward, and a normal goal with a lesser reward. but please, before you even THINK about stretch goals, spend a year getting very good at one on ones, and weekly reviews of performance and goal accomplishment. And don't you dare ask your folks for stretch goals unless you have your own...