Monday, October 08, 2001

The Success Coach

Key part of managing is motivating

By Michael Crom
Gannett News Service

        Question: I've been promoted to a management position. I've worked as an associate product manager for several years, just doing my job. Now I'm responsible for a whole line of innovative products. If we fail, it could mean the end of the company. I'm very comfortable with the day-to-day management, but now my boss has asked me to set goals for the group. There are so many things I'd like to achieve in the next years that I'm literally overwhelmed. Where do I start?

        Answer: You're discovering the major job of management.

        While you definitely must be concerned about the day-to-day activities of your employees, your real concern is setting goals and keeping your staff focused on achieving them. It's not easy, but it is what sets your new job apart from the one you formerly held. As you work to set your group's objectives and develop strategies for meeting them, try following these tactics:

        • Rank your goals. You say you want to achieve many things. First, make a list of everything you'd like to see happen. Get input from your employees and top management. Then put those thoughts into four categories — urgent, very important, important and unneeded.

        • Now that you have the general outline of what you'd like to see happen in your department, set clear and specific goals for each area. This includes a time line — even some of your urgent objectives will need several months or longer to achieve. In addition, each goal should have distinct, measurable objectives.

        • Share the specific goals with your employees. Make sure everyone understands the importance of the goals as well as the time lines for achieving them. Be sure to get as much input as possible from your employees — they are the people who will have many of the best ideas for meeting these goals. If possible, set up teams of employees to work specifically on certain goals.

        • Reward success. Interestingly, setting goals is one of the easier parts of your job. You now must keep your staff and yourself motivated to achieve them in spite of constant change in the workplace. Make sure that everyone knows you value their input toward the success you've achieved and the successes yet to come.

        Michael Crom is executive vice president, Dale Carnegie Training. If you have any business related questions or would like advice on other workplace issues, visit, or e-mail


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