team goals vs individual goals

Sat Dharm
Written by Sat Dharm in Transformations
- 1 min read

I was discussing today the concept that I read about in your “Make work more fun” to transfer the annual individual goal-setting from the supervisor/manager to the teams themselves, which then would collectively set individual goals for each team member, the team as a whole and also their supervisor.
I think it’s a great concept and I am very familiar with the pain of annual target stetting and achievement reviews for people that are in my team but basically work without supervision and independent of my role. I actually often feel too removed from their work that I find it hard to objectively judge their achievement by the end of the year and define the right measure for an improvement for the next year.
Therefore this concept makes so much more sense and allows for so much more individual feedback from the whole group that I could see it really be a valuable improvement.
I think the challenge lies a bit in the transition from the current to the new system and the change of mentality that has to go along with it on all sides. Especially opening up to sometimes raw feedback from colleagues that might not be that skilled in the art of giving constructive feedback. How do we prepare the organisation for such a quantum leap of trust and empowerment? Can you maybe point me to a reference that is showcasing how this transition has been mastered in other companies?

Much appreciated

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Replies (1)



Hi Sat. I think what you are referring to is the need for the team to have degree of 'psychological safety', i.e. be felt to be a group in which things can be discussed openly and respectfully, with the aim to (ultimate) aim to improve the team's performance. An individual's performance contributes to that, but/and can be discussed more constructively and positively if seen as part of the team.
There are many components that contribute to that level of team safety:
- Establishing team goals over individual goals.
- Define clear boundaries within which the teams have the band width to make their own decisions and introduce their own processes. This framework is a simple (quasi) contract between the wider organisation and the teams that sets out mutual commitments.
- Having the tools to monitor team performance in order to discuss and improve them.
- Having the 'language' in the team to do this. Teams will need some tools (training) to do this well.
- Letting the team come up with its own internal feedback process for individuals' performance.
- Etc.
I have found the book by Wenting & Vermeer 'Self-management how it does work' very practical.
Re your question how to start: well, start small to learn what works and what doesn't. And allow the team as well as the organisation to find its feet. Things will 'go wrong' (whatever that is), but you should show commitment that that is ok. Good luck!

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