‘“One must command from each what each can perform,’ the king went on. ‘Authority is based first of all upon reason.”’ – Antoine De Saint-Exupéry

Such a profound leadership learning from the children’s book, The Little Prince. As leaders, are we setting our organization up for success or failure? How do we create goals that are both compelling and credible?

The beginning of the calendar year is a time when many organizations articulate their company, department, team and individual goals. There are four components to crafting reasonable goals:

  1. The company’s vision – where is the company headed, why, and by when? 

  2. The current conditions – this might include things like the competitive landscape, partnerships, existing and/or potential clients, capital, etc.

  3. The strengths and capabilities of the composite – this goes beyond understanding how each employee is performing in their current position. When we understand our employees skills, strengths, capabilities and aspirations we have the opportunity to reimagine the work that needs to be done in a way that leverages each individual, such that the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

  4. The roadmap – this is the connective tissue that lays out how the organization will traverse the terrain toward the vision. When the roadmap is clear, compelling and credible, employees are more likely to invest their time and talents toward accomplishing the goals.

This is an iterative process. As the vision changes, or the current conditions shift, or the strengths and capabilities within the company evolve, so too should we revisit and, potentially, recast our goals and/or the roadmap that gets us there.