How to Run a Goal-Setting Workshop? 9 Effective Meeting Tips

Learn how to run productive goal-setting meetings that grow your company in the right direction. Plus, see our 9 game-changing tips for successful goal completion.

By Hannah Sheehan  •   January 6, 2022  •   8 min read

What better time than now, a new year, to set realistic and attainable goals to grow your company. According to Leslie Riopel, MSc., psychology professor, goal setting helps individuals foster new behaviours, guide their focus, and gain momentum in their life. 

“Goals help align your focus and promote a sense of self-mastery. In the end, you can’t manage what you don’t measure and you can’t improve upon something that you don’t properly manage.” – Riopel. 

What is a goal-setting meeting? 

A goal-setting meeting is a meeting where personal, team, and company goals are communicated. The purpose of this meeting is to inform employees of what is expected of them, their team, and the company moving forward. Additionally, it’s to align everyone’s goals for the best results. Goal-setting meetings also provide an opportunity for teams to meet and collectively create goals. 

Dr. Gail Matthews, a clinical psychologist from Dominican University of California, conducted a study that revealed individuals who wrote down their goals, shared their goals with others and sent themselves weekly updates were an average of 33% more successful in completing their goals. Thus, by conducting a goal-setting meeting, employees write down their goals on the meeting agenda and meeting minutes and share their goals with other attendees, setting themselves up for success. 

Set yourself up for success

Accomplish all your goals with a clear understanding of the objectives, concerns, and ideas with a collaborative meeting agenda in Fellow.

Why are goal-setting meetings important?

Goal-setting is a common practice that many companies adopt. This practice ensures that the company has a direction it’s going in and that plans are created to move the company forward. Thus, goal-setting meetings ensure that employees’ goals align with company goals, fostering higher levels of productivity and performance. 

According to a Harvard Business Review study, an average of 95% of employees are unaware of or misunderstand their company’s strategies. “If the employees who are closest to customers and who operate processes that create value are unaware of the strategy, they surely cannot help the organization implement it effectively,” says Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton, Harvard Business Review contributors. Therefore, companies need to conduct goal-setting meetings to ensure that all employees are on the same page.

Running a goal-setting meeting

Before the meeting

I think it’s safe to say that you can guess what the first step is in conducting a goal-setting meeting… creating a meeting agenda!

Before your meeting starts, fill out the meeting agenda with all of the talking points discussed. It’s the responsibility of the meeting facilitator to send the meeting agenda 24-hours in advance of the meeting to ensure that everyone has time to contribute to the agenda. 

Here is a list of what to include in your meeting agenda:

  • Talking points
  • Comments and questions
  • Action items
  • Meeting minutes

Pro tip: Fellow allows you to assign items and topics to the meeting agenda so that you can keep track of who contributed each idea!

During the meeting

During your goal-setting meeting, explain personal, team, and company goals to the meeting attendees and provide time for questions and comments. Remember, 95% of employees are unaware or don’t understand their company’s strategies, so taking the time to explain them and answer questions is extremely important.

It’s also important to stay on topic by following your meeting agenda. This will ensure that your meeting doesn’t run over time and become unproductive. Additionally, it’s important to take detailed meeting minutes, which are formal transcripts of the meeting. 

Here is a list of what to include in your meeting notes:

  • Date and time of the meeting
  • Names of attendees 
  • Meeting purpose
  • Agenda items and topics discussed
  • Action items
  • Next meetings date and time
  • Roles assigned for next meeting
  • Supporting documents discussed in the meeting

Pro tip: Fellow puts the date and time and the list of meeting attendees directly onto the meeting minutes for you, saving you the hassle of doing it yourself!

After the meeting

After the goal-setting meeting ends, it’s important to share the meeting minutes with meeting attendees ASAP. This will help inform those who missed the meeting and help remind those who were at the meeting of the goals discussed. 

Additionally, after the goal-setting meeting ends, attendees should reflect on what they learned and determine if their goals align with the company’s goals. If not, employees should communicate their goals to their manager to determine a new course of action. 

9 tips for goal-setting meetings 

1 Choose a time frame for your goals

A tip for successful goal-setting meetings is to choose a time frame for your goals. In my experience, goals with no time frame get pushed aside because they aren’t time-sensitive. We automatically prioritize goals with time frames because we need to hit them. Thus, choosing a time frame will encourage your team members to prioritize the goals, making it more likely that your goals will be achieved. 

“Deadlines help improve the effectiveness of a goal.” – Riopel.

2 Align the goals with overall objectives and key results

Objective and Key Results (OKRs) is a methodology that managers and team members use to define measurable goals and convey expectations. Breaking this acronym down, objectives are the “what,” specifically defining what you want your team to accomplish. On the other hand, the key results are the “how” of the system, which creates a vision of the paths your team will take to achieve your goals and arrive at the desired outcome. It’s important to align goals and OKRs because it will ensure that everyone’s focus and efforts collectively contribute to your company’s success.

3 Create SMART goals

SMART goals help individuals figure out what resources they need and how much time is required in order to achieve their goals. The acronym SMART originated from Goerge T. Doran in the November 1981 issue of Management Review and has since been implemented by many companies still in 2022. 

Here is what Doran’s SMART acronym stands for:

  • S: Specific. Your goal should clearly state the desired outcome and any attendant expectations.
  • M: Measurable. You should numerically define your goal and track all progress toward it. If your goal is qualitative, you should develop a way to track it numerically.
  • A: Achievable. Over time, the “A” of SMART goals has changed to “achievable,” though Doran initially defined it as “assignable.” You must be reasonably confident your team can pull it off for your goal to be achievable, given your current available resources.
  • R: Relevant. Your goals should pertain to your company’s values and yield a meaningful impact for your business.
  • T: Time-bound. Your goals need a target date by which you expect to complete them. 

4 Make time for a brainstorming session

According to Courtney Symons, editor in chief at Shopify, “to ensure that you get optimal results from your brainstorming session, inform all attendees as early as possible so they can block the time off in their calendars. Consider passing along an agenda in advance, so people will know how their time will be spent, and present them with the main question you’ll be looking to solve so they can prepare some thoughts in advance and hit the ground running.” 

During a goal-setting meeting, brainstorming which goals you want to set is an effective way to ensure everyone is on the same page and foster successful completion. 

Here are what to include on your meeting agenda for a brainstorming session:

  • Goal – what’s the main objective of the meeting?
  • Ground rules – meeting etiquette everyone should follow
  • Prompts – questions to inspire new ideas and solutions
  • Brainstorming – ideas to brainstorm with the group about 
  • Voting – favourite ideas 
  • Action items – actions/next-steps that came from this brainstorming session

5 Talk about goals often

If you recall back to the study by Dr. Gail Matthews, weekly reminders of one’s goals contributed to the 33% of individuals who successfully completed their goals. Thus, a good tip is to remind team members of the goals in recurring meetings. For example, if your team has a weekly or bi-weekly meeting, add a section on the recurring meeting agenda for goals to remind team members and to keep track of goal completion. 

6 Review the process regularly

A common mistake that many people make is not reviewing old processes. While they may have fostered productivity at one point, there comes a time when old processes become outdated and unproductive. Thus, regular reviews of processes are important to ensure that your team is working most efficiently. 

7 Be transparent with the “why”

According to Doug Meyer-Cuno, Forbes contributor, “people today aren’t willing to follow leaders who don’t communicate, aren’t open to others’ viewpoints, and won’t explain the why behind what they are trying to accomplish.” If employees are unclear about why these goals have been made, they will have a more challenging time working towards achieving them. 

For example, if your work tells you to write up 3 additional reports this week without context, you may be frustrated that you’re asked to do even more work. But, if your manager communicates to you that your team is 3 reports off from hitting their monthly goal, you will be more eager to help your team achieve the goal. 

8 Ask the right questions

Asking your team members the right questions will ensure that you understand their personal goals, which will help you create successful team goals. For instance, if one of your team members’ goals doesn’t align with the rest of the team’s goals, you may suggest another team or position that better aligns with what they want to achieve. 

9 Have clear next steps

Nothing is worse than leaving a meeting where no actions were clarified; Employees leave feeling lost, confused, and unsure about what to do. In all, these meetings are unproductive and a waste of valuable time. Therefore, defining clear next steps is very important. 

Defining clear next steps is especially important in goal-setting meetings because, without plans to achieve these goals, they are simply wishes or aspirations, not goals.  

Goal Setting Agenda Templates

Parting advice

Goal-setting meetings foster productivity that drives your company’s growth. Following the tips above, you can create high-performing teams to achieve your company’s goals. So, gather your team, align your goals, and start growing your company in the right direction!

“Having a cohesive, high-performing team can set your business apart within your industry and ensure the success of your organization in the long run.” – Forbes

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