The Art of Setting Inspirational Team Goals

Key Takeaways: 

  • Team goals are the objectives or milestones that help an organization achieve its long-term vision.
  • Setting team goals starts with SMART goals.
  • When your goals aren’t met ask yourself: What were some roadblocks that the team faced? 
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Many of us have hopes of achieving our dreams and aspirations one day. And many times, we’re just daydreaming about those moonshot goals. However, there’s a way in bringing those dreams to come to fruition. Especially if you’re working on a team. 

Most, if not all, organizations have larger, long-term goals that require the help of various internal teams. That’s where setting effective team goals will help organizations reach their vision and develop those vital professional skills that your peers need to be successful.

What are team goals?

Team goals are the objectives or milestones that help an organization achieve its long-term vision. The main difference between a team and individual goals is how they’re achieved. With team goals, you're expected to collaborate with other teammates to reach those moonshot goals. 

How to set inspiring team goals

Common or team goals are especially necessary to an organization because they serve any purpose. From developing your communication skills to encouraging innovation, setting goals as a team gives everyone to work together while building their skills and contributing their unique experiences.

Setting a north star

Before diving into your team goals, make sure everyone’s on the same page. That means stating the objectives, expectations, the end results, and most important the ‘why’ right away. The key is to be transparent with your peers. When you take the time to set these parameters and communicate the intentions behind a project, it gives your team a sense of direction.


SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Part of setting team goals is adhering to the SMART criteria will help guide and focus your team on the most important objectives. 

  • Specific. Be as clear and specific as possible when setting goals. Don’t be afraid to dive into those small details like the objectives, responsibilities, and methods of achieving the goals.
  • Measurable. Quantify your goals to make it simpler to measure and track the team’s progress. That’s how you’ll know you’ve reached the end of your goal.
  • Achievable. The key idea is to be realistic with your goals. Ensure that you have the resources and team members to make these goals are attainable.
  • Relevant. Whatever goal you set has to contribute toward the broader objectives of your organization. If they don’t, then you’re off the path. Ask your team and yourself whether or not these goals will aid in your long-term vision of your company.
  • Timely. Finally, your goals must be time-boxed. That means placing deadlines and check-ins to see with your team is on track to reach those goals.

Be actionable 

The most important part of setting team goals is being proactive and actionable. Part of having an action is:

  • Providing a one-pager with objectives and expectations
  • Assigning everyone their roles and responsibilities
  • Offering resources 
  • Walking through with new tools or software
  • Setting up weekly check-ins and end-of-week meetings

Set deliverables and milestones

Part of setting SMART goals includes being timely. If there are no deadlines then your project will go on forever and eventually it will lead to burnout. Remember, create realistic deadlines with smaller tasks so your peers have the confidence and energy to achieve their goals. Don’t forget to bake in time for breaks, PTO, or sick days.

Be flexible and adjustable

Not every goal is black and white. It’s a journey to set and achieve goals. Roadblocks are bound to pop up, tests are likely to fail, or people may feel burned out. Not to mention regular feedback can change the trajectory of the project. It’s important to adapt to changes that arise during the project and adjust accordingly.

When goals aren’t met

The reality is sometimes our goals are not achieved. And that’s ok, but it’s important to ask yourself and your team reflective questions when doing a retrospective:

  • What did we learn through our overall experience?  
  • What would we do differently next time?
  • What were some roadblocks that the team faced? 
  • What were the external factors that may have impacted our goal?
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