The Power of Goal Setting

Paul Demarco

I am a strong believer that goal setting is one of the most powerful exercises we can go through as humans.

For a large part of my life, I never set out many goals for myself, and I certainly didn’t write them down. I went through my days just going through the motions with no end goal in mind.

As I reflect back on my years, the only time I ever had a goal written down was when my hockey coach gave us a goal of winning 80% of our games per year!

It was written on the whiteboard before every game and practice. Next to it was our percentage of games won to date. The fascinating thing was we always accomplished this goal, even though it seemed like something that wasn’t possible.

Although I was exposed to that experience at such a young age, I never really understood that having goals in front of our team played a large role in our success.

It wasn’t until I entered my early 20’s that it became clear to me how powerful goal setting could be.

Goal setting and business success

When we had started Intrigue, we started setting goals for the business annually. We also set goals for personal performance.

We would write these goals down and constantly track our progress.

Sometimes the goals seemed a little far-fetched, but when we started surpassing the goals we had set out for ourselves, the impact that the goal-setting came to life.

Goal setting for us then expanded well beyond business. We started writing down our personal goals of what we wanted to accomplish in our lives. The experience was always consistent: Time after time we were accomplishing the goals we had written down for ourselves.

shutterstock_118796125After years of doing this for ourselves, we decided that we were going to start implementing goal setting with all of our team members at Intrigue.

Goal setting and team member success

We starting holding individual goal-setting sessions every 90 days and continue to do this to this day.

In these sessions, we have each team member:

  • Answer these 12 Questions
  • Have a great discussion regarding feedback on how we are serving the team member as an organization
  • Give the team member feedback on performance, and
  • (most importantly) Review their goals.

The goals that we review are not just goals at the company, but goals in all aspects of life.

We have 10 categories of goals with different timelines in each one. Every team member is expected to come to these sessions prepared with updates on the progress of their goals and with all new goals filled out. They then take their top goals for the year and integrate these into a vision board which lives at their desk so they can see their goals visually every single day.

This helps us understand so much about the people we work with. It tells us who is prepared and who is dedicated to their goals. It gives us insights into their lives like who is trying to buy a house? Who is striving to save for a vacation? Who is trying to journal? Who is trying to exercise and eat healthy? The list goes on and on.

Does goal setting work? YES!

There are some really neat studies on the positive effects of goal setting.

Harvard’s graduate students were asked if they have set clear, written goals for their futures. Here’s how they answered:

  • 3 percent of the students had written goals and plans to accomplish them
  • 13 per cent had goals in their minds but hadn’t written them anywhere
  • 84 per cent had no goals at all

After 10 years, those students were interviewed again. The conclusion of the study was amazing.

The 3 percent who were writing down their goals earned (on average) 10 times as much as the remaining 97 percent of students combined.

Goal setting and mentorship

It has been so amazing to not only understand our team’s goals, but to also help them accomplish things they didn’t believe were possible.

We are so exposed to everything our team is trying to achieve as individuals. And it is very likely that we have experienced a similar goal ourselves or know of someone on the team has. This allows us to help guide the team member through a process of achieving their goal with someone at work that has experience (and success) accomplishing that goal.

We have seen hundreds of goals accomplished by the team. Helping people accomplish their goals is not only extremely rewarding but it’s also an incredible retention strategy.

If you want to have a look at the goal template we use at Intrigue, you can check it out here.

Also, here are a couple of sample vision boards. If you are like me and don’t have the best photoshop skills, I would highly recommend Google Drawings to help get you started.

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