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Goal-Setting Tips from a Strategic Planning & Reporting Expert

The end of the year is right around the corner, and goal setting for 2023 is top of mind for agencies and supervisors.

During our recent virtual networking session, “New Year, New Goal: Setting Your 2023 Team Objectives,” Ray M. Crawford, Jr. Ph.D.​, Chief Executive for ​Strategic Planning and Reporting,​ U.S. Department of Education​, gave new supervisors insight on how to make their team feel included and invested in their agency’s goal-setting process.

His first piece of advice for goal setting was to get everyone on the same page when it comes to the strategic plan of your agency, which means meeting with senior leadership, as well as frontline supervisors, so everyone knows their role and how they contribute.

“You need to take every goal and customize the discussion for those goals to each person, so they can see themselves in the plan and know how they fit in,” Dr. Crawford said.

He also recommends including your agency’s strategic plan in its performance tracking tool, so each department can ensure their goals directly help meet the organization’s overall mission.

When it comes to making sure your employees understand their part to play, continual meetings with each employee should occur throughout the year to outline what’s expected of them, with a back-and-forth dialogue so everyone has accountability and can participate in their own development. Crawford said that regular meetings build trust, and you can use those meetings to create a clear narrative about how the employee’s job adds to both the department and the overall agency at large.

Challenges do come up in the goal-setting process, but Crawford had some ideas on how to overcome them. The first was ensuring you know your team and have built a relationship with them.

“Engage in team building to know your employee’s traits and how they like to be managed before you begin setting goals,” he stated. “After that step, it’s easier to talk about what you’re committing to this year and how it will be delegated.”

When it’s time to pin down what you want to accomplish, don’t be afraid to brainstorm.

“Brainstorming is really undervalued,” said Crawford. “You need to have those sessions where nothing is off the table and there’s no wrong answer because they get the energy going and innovation pours out.”

After all the ideas are out in the open, then you can weigh the pros and cons and map out what’s feasible. Crawford suggested adding in stretch goals that may be difficult to accomplish but rewarding if the target is hit, in more ways than one.

“If you hit a stretch goal, that’s when you start talking about awards and bonuses,” he said. “You have to have a bigger goal than just keeping the train on the track.”

Once the goals are set, that doesn’t mean the work is over.

“You have to periodically reassess to make sure things are working or where they need to be re-tooled,” he said.

To hear more about how goal setting for 2023 can be a meaningful, collaborative process, watch the session now or download this goal-setting worksheet.

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