Goal-setting templates (And when to use them)

Updated 21 November 2022

Goals are something companies strive toward and intend to achieve over a set period. This means that setting goals is equally important, as the right goals direct company progress in a positive manner for the foreseeable future. This is where goal setting templates are useful. In this article, we present a goal-setting template, give an example of its use and explain why they're so important for achieving goals in business.

Goal-setting template

When a company is embarking on a new project or initiative, it might use a goal-setting template to set out the direction for that project. Below is a goal-setting template used for setting out the specific goals and intentions of a company or organisation going forwards:

[Title of Goal (in title case)]

[Organisation name, names of individuals responsible for goal completion]

[Time period in which completion is due and other important dates]

[Step one of the anticipated process]

[Step two of the anticipated process]

[Step three of the anticipated process]

[Insert further steps in the process as necessary for clarity]

[Short description of the situation and the reason completion of goals is integral to company progress and success]

[Any further details not yet mentioned]

Key goal-setting template components

Following the template not only provides a set of targets for completion but the typical timespan and resources necessary for the completion of the goals. This means that members of an organisation have a comprehensive idea of the targets in question. Below is an explanation of why each section of the template is key:

Title of goal

The title of the goal is also the title of the goal-setting document and is key to conveying goals in a quick and easy manner. A short, snappy title provides readers with at-a-glance information surrounding the intent of the document and the goal they're responsible for in the coming project. Keep title length minimal, as long titles cause disengagement amongst readers and discourage them from reading the entire document. You don't have to use 'goal' in the title, but it may be helpful and make it clear to the reader what the intent of the document is.

Related: What is the difference between goals and objectives?

Organisation name, name of those responsible for goal achievement

The organisation name is a fundamental aspect of any goal-setting template, ensuring that readers know the documentation is relevant to them. You establish further relevance for employees by naming those responsible for the attainment of the goals in question. Not only does this set out clear and well-defined purviews for those in the team but infers an extent of accountability. Awareness of responsibility is the first step to being accountable, as those unaware of their responsibilities have plausible deniability in regard to goal attainment.

Time period in which completion is due

Clearly defined bounds are integral in the completion of goals. Without defined time periods, staff present minimal progress to management, and the organisation is in relative limbo as goals are continuously 'in progress'. Progression comes through pressure, thus implementing time periods and deadlines is key to goal completion rather than simply goal progression. Further sub-deadlines are advisable, in which your team reaches sub-goals en route to completion of the larger goal.

Steps of the process

In the event that the goal is a process or product creation for a specific date, include target steps of the process in this section of a goal-setting template. Doing so is key to satisfactory progress throughout, rather than completion of goals at the last minute. Inclusion of steps is key to sustainable progress rather than progress made in an extremely short period of time immediately prior to the deadline.

Related: A step-by-step guide to development goals for work

Short description of the situation

In this section, provide more context and detail about the goal at hand. For example, if the goal is a product or project completion on behalf of a client, explain in detail the nature of the client, the product or the project necessary and why the client is completing the project. If the goals are internal in nature and regard productivity statistics or customer satisfaction, discuss the current state of affairs, the impact they're having on the organisation and the predicted effect of the completion of goals.

Any further details

If there's more information staff require in the completion of the goal, provide it here. Fully informed staff are better positioned for the completion of goals, as they fully understand the motives and reasoning behind the goals in question. Let your staff know as much as possible to increase productivity throughout the team.

Example goal-setting template

Below is a goal-setting template, provided without context as you garner context and situation from any effective goal setting template. The template is thorough and establishes every stage of the goal throughout. Below is a closer look at an example of a goal-setting template:

Increase in Customer Retention From 50% to 85%
BMA Corporation, executed by Miranda Arlsson, Jonathan Horner and Susan Swift.

An increase in customer retention to 85% is due by the end of the financial year. An increase in customer retention to at least 70% is due by the end of January. An increase in customer retention to at least 60% is due by the end of December.

Offers for existing customers are set to take place throughout December.

Loyalty scheme implementation begins in January.

The remaining steps' preparation and implementation are the responsibility of Arlsson et al.

BMA Corporation is struggling with customer retention due to the entry of competitors into the market. Companies such as DTM and NewFud are providing food products of a high standard at competitive prices. Increased customer retention is key to long-term flourishing business, as new customers are limited in a market already dealing with a high concentration of competitive businesses. 85% customer retention is a point at which new customers top-up retention rates, creating sustainable profit.

Previous customer retention efforts were successful, albeit interrupted by the entry of competitors into the market. Following strategies, as seen in the June 2018-January 2019 campaign, is advisable due to their success at the time. The manager with oversight of this goal is Magnus Johansson.

Why is a goal-setting template important?

A goal-setting template is fundamental to the continuity and consistency of business documentation. Retaining a level of consistency in your communications ensures individuals understand the format of the documents they receive, understand the information available and convert it into tangible actions effectively. The same applies to all documentation, not just goal setting templates.

Consistent documentation also improves record-keeping quality in the business. Identical formats increase the ability of secretaries and administrative employees when sorting documents from one another, keeping goal setting templates separate from project outline documents and a range of other document templates. Although templates with low-quality designs cause more harm than good, effective templates such as the one listed above are highly beneficial to a company's efficiency and profitability.

Related: What is coaching? (Benefits, uses and average salary)

Goal setting documents checklist

Goal setting documents contain a range of information vital to the effective execution of goals. Several features are essential, providing key information to the reader and adding necessary detail throughout. Below is a checklist of key information for goal setting documents and why you include it:

  • Strict timelines: Including strict timelines limits staff to distinct time frames and informs of company expectations in a succinct and simple manner.

  • Measurable objectives: Measurable objectives provide goals members of staff strive toward, informing staff of progress throughout the task.

  • Applicable staff: Mention responsible staff, preferably by name or team designation, in goal setting documentation. This sets clear responsibility and avoids everyone in the organisation working toward tasks requiring few people.

  • Method: In the event that you recommend employees use individual methods, or avoid others, mention it clearly. If a method failed in the past, there's nothing stopping it from doing so again without management intervention.

  • Manager oversight: Mention the manager overseeing the goal. This is the individual to who staff report throughout the goal, thus discussing them in the goal-setting document is key to avoiding later confusion throughout the goal's completion.

  • Previous attempts: In the event that the company's previous attempts at completing the goal were unsuccessful, mention this and the attempt's methods. This is a guiding factor in future goal attainment, preventing failure through identical issues seen in previous examples.

Related: 10 career goals examples and why they're important

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