Group Goal Setting: Everything you need to know before your next group project

The year was 2000, and the company that was about to take off was Pixar.

In that year, Steve Jobs was about to relocate the company to an abandoned canning factory in Del Monte.

The original plan of the building was to have three buildings separately. Each building is to be offices for computer scientists, animators, and the Pixar Executives.

But at that stage, Jobs had only one goal in mind.

And that goal was to get all these three different groups of individuals to work together. He knew that was the only way the company could thrive.

So, instead of the original plan, he opted for a single vast space, with an atrium at its center.

He now moved all the major components of the business to the atrium which is at the center of the building.

He wanted to create an environment where the groups will be forced to interact and talk to each other on a daily basis.

In his own words, “when people run into each other, when they make eye contact, things happen”.

Goal setting is important in all areas of our lives.

At school, at work, in our homes, and in our communities, if we are to make meaningful progress, we need to set meaningful goals as a group.

So, when we find ourselves part of a group, or in charge of one, it’s important to set goals for the group.

Setting goals as a group has a lot of benefits for the people that make up the group and the group as a whole.

It promotes engagement, accountability, support, and other things that won’t be available if goals are being set individually.

The following are the five important reasons why you should consider setting group goals when you’re done reading this post.

5 Important reasons why you should consider group goal setting

group goal setting with a lot of people

  1. Group goal setting creates engagement

When the process of setting goals for the group is inclusive, people feel ownership of that goal.

This, in turn, leads to engagement and commitment from the group members.

When there’s engagement in the group, the group stays alive and also stays fun.

  1. It helps to communicate the vision and the mission of the group

Let’s say the group members are employees of a certain organization, what do you think will be the best way to communicate the mission and the vision of the group, and the organization as a whole?

The answer?

By setting group goals of course!

It’s through the goals that are allocated to the group, that the organization can effectively communicate what is expected of the group members, and the group as a whole.

For instance, a marketing team that’s established for the sole reason of capturing users in a certain geo-location should be given goals related to that geo-location.

With the constant repetition of this type of goal, the group is able to fully understand why it’s in existence in the first place.

  1. It helps to increase motivation

When you set goals as a group, or you set goals for a group, one thing you can expect is an increase in motivation.

This comes about when the group members start working on the goals and the targets the group is given.

Several types of research have linked ACTIONABLE goal-setting to an increase in motivation.

Goals that are set for the group that involves definitive roles, and action plans, will motivate the group better.

And as each goal is being marked as completed, the confidence levels of the group increases and so does the motivation levels.

  1. Group goal setting creates a winning mentality

Success breeds success.

The more the group is setting goals and achieving those goals—no matter how small the goals are, the more the group starts to build a success mentality.

For instance, even if it’s to succeed in a goal as small as the goal of arriving early to group meetings, group members start to build this culture within the group.

And when they start achieving this small goal consistently, they start thinking they are capable of achieving bigger goals.

Group goal setting creating a winning mentality is especially beneficial to a group that’s specifically created for a target to be met (or competitive groups).

Examples of such groups are athletic groups, the sales team of a company, and so on.

  1. It creates accountability and a support system for each individual in the group

What accountability do for goal setting cannot be over-emphasized.

Accountability increases the rate at which goals can be achieved.

Human beings tend to be on their best behavior when we know we are being watched.

So much so that researchers recommend sharing your personal goals with groups to facilitate action on your part.

When researchers at the Dominican University looked at the effects of accountability on the goal-setting efforts of 267 participants, it was found that the group that had accountability (sending weekly progress reports to a friend) accomplished their goals significantly more than those that didn’t have accountability on their goals.

One of the benefits of setting goals as a group over individual goal setting is that it’s easy to incorporate accountability into a group goal-setting.

Group members can be assigned to each other to do daily or weekly check-ins with each other so as to keep them accountable on the group goals.

Since the group shares common goals or similar goals, it’s easier to keep each other in check.

Not only does group goal-setting provide accountability; it can also create a support system for the members of the group.

If a goal is not moving in the direction it’s supposed to be, a group member has access to like-minded people that can give him/her emotional or physical support.

All these benefits can’t be enjoyed by someone that’s setting goals individually.

4 ways to set goals for a group to ensure the group achieve the goals

The art of group goal setting is something that should be learned.

It’s an art because, in any given group, there are different people with different personality types.

So, if you don’t set group goals in such a way that you cater to the strengths and weaknesses of the various group members, there’s every tendency for the group’s goal to fall apart.

The following are the best practices when it comes to setting goals for groups;

  1. Set the goals together as a group

In 1991, the renowned Behavioral Economist, Kahneman, found that people place a lot of value and show commitment to things they feel they own.

What this researcher discovered is what is known as the endowment effect.

The endowment effect is so powerful that it’s one of the main reasons why a lot of people abandon their goals.

When you are setting goals for groups, if the group members don’t feel like a part of the goal-setting process, there’s every tendency, they won’t be really motivated to work on the goals.

Making them feel like the goals are theirs in the first place is the first crucial step in group goal-setting.

If you are in charge of a group, you can always call for a group meeting when you want to set goals. Let every member participate. Encourage them to give ideas on how to execute the goals.

With this small step, you’ll utilize the endowment effect positively within your group.

And apart from the endowment effect benefit, if you the whole group participate in the goal-setting process, you’ll get a general idea of the strengths and weaknesses of your group members.

  1. Play to the group members’ strengths

In 1971, Bill Fernandez accidentally created one of the greatest partnerships the world will ever see.

He said to Wozniak, “you should meet Steve Jobs because he likes electronics and he also plays pranks”.

So, Wozniak and Jobs shook hands, and the rest was history as we know it.

Why did this small group become historic?

They learned to play to each other’s strengths.

Jobs was known for a creative mind for design, an eye for beauty, and ruthless negotiating skills.

While Wozniak was the tech guy.

They had definitive strengths, definitive roles, and they kept it that way.

And after five years of working together, Apple-1 came out and broke the market.

Whether your group is comprised of a number of students working on a school project, or three people starting a new business together, I want you to know that each member of your group has different personalities.

And each member of the group has certain things that they do better than the other members of the group.

To set efficient goals for your group, ask your group members their strong points on the goals you’ve just set.

This is why it’s important to set the goals together in the first place.

If you allocate tasks to a group member where he’s not adept, that person will struggle with the task and this will affect the group’s goals.

The productive thing to do is to assign tasks and objectives to the people that can execute said tasks and objectives effectively.

You can also take care of those that are struggling with tasks in the team by assigning those that’ll support them within the group.

  1. No matter your role in the group, show, don’t tell!

In 1955, on a bus in Montgomery Alabama, a woman named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger. This act sparked the biggest civil rights movement in America’s history.

She wasn’t the leader of the civil rights movement, in fact, she was an introvert.

Yet, this action taken by this quiet woman inspired and ignited the Bus Boycott of the civil rights group, led by a young Baptist minister named Martin Luther King Jr.

Action is infectious.

Do what you say you’ll do!

Action speaks a thousand times louder than words.

If you find yourself holding an influential role or position within a group, be the first to start acting on the group’s goals.

When the other group members start seeing you do the things you say you’ll do, they get motivated.

Not only that, they are pushed to act on their own part of the group’s goal process.

If you notice that you belong to a group that keeps failing to achieve its goals, you can start infecting the group (with motivation) by acting on the group goals.

And you don’t even have to hold a leadership role within a group to do this.

  1. Praise publicly!!

Human beings are reward seeking in nature.

Meaning that the same thing motivating you is also motivating the other group members.

And that thing is; the promise of reward!!

Social recognition is one of the ultimate rewards that drive our behaviors and actions.

So, when one of the group members completes a task—that’ll facilitate achieving the group’s goals, try and praise that member in the presence of the other group members.

This act will automatically trigger the reward centers (dopamine pathway) of the other group members and this, in turn, increases motivation.

Conversely speaking, if one of the members does something wrong, don’t criticize publicly.

Try to have a one-on-one with the person and constructively criticize that member. Offer advice on what you think the person should do differently next time.

Organize a way to support the member if needed.