The goal here is to set targets that are high enough to encourage growth, but not so high as to become unachievable. Your job, as a leader, is to find this balance.
The first thing you want to consider is the type of target you are setting. Is it a financial target to support the company’s profitability, or a softer goal such as improved customer experience? Next you want to consider if the target is appropriate. Ask yourself is it something that your colleague can directly influence, and do they have all the resources they need to meet this target?
For example, a financial target might not be suitable for graphic designers. Instead, you could measure their output, their ability to meet deadlines, and how well people respond to their work. But before you set that target, you also need to look at other factors such as the volume of work being requested, the tools your designers have, and the quality of the work they will be able to produce under pressure. After all, it’s important to set targets that are realistic in their current work environment.
The next thing to consider is how you will measure your team’s progress. First, ask them how they feel about their targets and listen carefully to any feedback you get. You hired this person because they know the job well, maybe even better than you when it comes to specific tasks. And they also do the job day-in day-out, which means they know the exact amount of time and resources needed to do it well. If they say the target is too high, it just might well be. So, you should take their opinion and concerns into account.
Once you have confirmed the target, you need to decide how regularly you want to check your team’s progress. Depending on the type of work you do, this could mean a monthly, weekly, or daily catch up. Be sure not to leave it too long though, because you want to make sure your team stays on track. The final thing you want to consider is how you manage your team’s performance. More on that next.