Four things you should know about goal setting in 2017.

It’s that time of year again where everyone starts to think about goals. Goal setting is a complex process, that if done thoughtfully can truly inspire action. In many organisations, goals for 2017 may have been set long ago. The year has just begun so here are a few tips worth considering.


There is an abundance of evidence and research about goal setting and as Locke & Latham, 1990, (yes, 27 years ago!) point out ‘setting goals direct attention and provide motivational focus’. So step 1, are you and your teams clear on the company’s goals as well as their own personal goals? Just spelling it out (repeatedly), ‘directs attention’ and motivation.


Approach goals are goals you move towards e.g. I’m going to create meetings with one new client a fortnight. Avoidance goals are often in the negative and are goals you try to move away from, e.g. I’m going to stop procrastinating. In a study by Elliot & McGregor (2001) approach goals were associated with greater academic performance and well-being. So, what do you want to create more of in 2017?


I’ve had quite a few clients who have had conflicting goals but didn’t see it. Working parents are frequently faced with these. As a manager an example may be ‘ I want to maintain control’ but ‘increase my team's autonomy’. The question to consider might be ‘what would you need to put in place to help you feel like you are ‘in control’, WHILE nurturing team ownership?’


Working towards goals is not a linear process. Monitor how you are going and notice what is getting in the way.

For more information on enhancing performance and well-being at work please visit or feel free to get in touch at


Locke, E. A., & Latham, G.P. (1990) A theory of goal setting and task performance. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Eliot, A.J., & McGregor, H. A. (2001) A 2x2 Achievement Goal Framework, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 80, No. 3, 501-519.

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