Setting Successful Business Goals


Jive Communications has discovered the secret sauce of business goals.

I began to work for Jive less than six months ago, and I’ve been bowled over by Jive’s ability to motivate and inspire employees. It’s incredible how this company, for all twelve months of the year, manages to push employees in meeting annual company goals.

How can you do the same? As it is the New Year and companies are devising strategic goals for 2018, let’s discuss tips on how you can make your 2018 business goals a success.

#1. Motivating Rewards

You need a big carrot to maintain employee interest for 12 months. If your company is setting goals without rewards, (or offering crappy rewards), you’ll likely fail. How do you know if the rewards are crappy? Make sure you’re offering what your employees actually value by having HR send out a company-wide survey asking employees to rank rewards for hard work: extra PTO, company retreats, cash bonus, etc.

For example, this year the penultimate prize at Jive is ridiculously motivating. If Jive employees meet all three of the 2017 company goals, Jive is flying every full-time employee and a plus one to for an all-expenses paid vacation to an exotic, tropical location.

#2. Goals that Stretch

If you’re going to offer something as incredible as a tropical vacation, you need business goals that are worth the investment. To find goals with high ROI and that stretch the company enough, look at your annual company budgets over the past few years and any other measurements of company growth/success.

Decide what measurements define success for your company. It can be sales, leads, client retention, the number of new customers, your company’s ranking within the market, number of new products released, etc. And don’t forget to stretch! The goal should sit precariously on the edge of attainable and impossible.

#3. Tiers of Success

An all-or-nothing company goal can have an adverse effect on company morale, so set more than one business goal for 2018. If everything hinges on one goal, and that goal turns out to be impossible halfway through the year, employees will become resentful and discouraged.

Understanding the negative possibilities with an all-or-nothing company goal, your company could set three goals. For example:

  1. Increasing your NPS score
  2. Increasing your ARR
  3. Meeting 90% of department goals

By having more than one company goal, you increase the odds of success. Employees will notice this and appreciate the odds. And by increasing the number of company goals, all departments can equally feel like they can contribute.

Remember, with multiple business goals you need tiers of success. For example, if your company reaches one of the goals by the year end, you should treat them to an activity at a local venue (i.e., movie, amusement park, or entertainment show). If they meet two of the goals, raise the stakes by offering them a weekend long retreat. And so on. 

#4. Corresponding Team Goals

How does each and every team actually contribute towards a company goal? Answering this question is essential. Have your managers collaborate with their department to submit specific team goals that correlate and contribute to the annual company goals.

My team at Jive creates marketing content (video, website, graphics, writing, etc.). So how could my team help our company increase our NPS score and ARR? Working with Jive’s CMO, Matt Peterson, our team set a goal for 2017 to increase last year’s website traffic by 50%.

This makes sense. If we can increase that much website traffic, there will surely be more leads, more sales, and an increase in ARR! Now my team, and subsequently every Jive employee within our team, has a tangible way to help our company meet our 2017 goals.

#5. Goal Reinforcement

Revisit your business goals throughout the year. I’ve found Jive particularly effective in reinforcing goals year-round.

Employee Onboarding

Does your onboarding process talk about company goals? If not, include it. Challenge HR and managers to ensure that all new employees know the company goals on their first day. Your annual business goals are as important as learning the structure of the company and where the bathrooms are.

My first day at Jive, the orientation deck included several slides and a led discussion about Jive’s company goals for 2017. They explained what each goal entailed (e.g., they introduced employees who had not heard of NPS to the idea of metrics for customer experience), and they hyped up the rewards. This illustrated to me how important Jive’s annual goals were to the company.  

Physical Reminders

Hire a professional graphic designer to create a striking design that sums up your annual company goals. It should be simple and eye-catching. Then simply print postcard sizes to pin up in each office and cubicle. Consider framing poster-sized images of the design in company spaces, (e.g., lunch rooms, snack rooms, etc.). And don’t forget to showcase the design digitally, like on your internal company website.

After my orientation, I sat down at my new desk and spotted a postcard-sized flyer displaying the 2017 company goals. If you look around Jive, every desk has this physical reminder of our 2017 company goals. It sounds simple, but your company needs to create a physical reminder that your employees see every day.

Company Meetings

Train every level of company leadership to begin or end all meetings with goals. Require it to be mentioned at the beginning or end, so it becomes a habit for all of your employees.

In Jive’s company wide town hall meetings, at our marketing department meetings, and at our marketing team meetings, we always assess where we’re at in meeting our 2017 company goals. Always. It is a fixture in all our meeting structure.

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Even If You Fail to Meet All Company Goals, You Still Succeed

True success in setting company goals is not necessarily whether you meet your goals when December 31st rolls around. Because companies like Jive don’t always meet their annual goals. It makes sense—if you set business goals that really stretch your company, you won’t always meet them. But even if you don’t meet all of your annual goals, you’ll still succeed.  

Eleven years ago, Jive Communications began as a humble start-up in Utah’s Silicon slopes, and now Jive employees over 500 employees and was named by Forbes as a 2017 Next Billion Dollar Startups. Jive hasn’t met every single annual goal over the past eleven years, but those goals were still successful because the true measure of performance is structuring and reinforcing company goals.

Experience incredible growth in 2018 by setting and reinforcing company goals. Remember to create business goals that have motivating rewards, stretch the company, offer tiers of success, and require corresponding team goals. As long as the company earnestly attempts to reach its 2018 company goals, you ultimately succeed.