Set Goals

Goal setting is the best way to set expectations for an employee that include both key results of what needs to be accomplished and behaviors, or how the results are to be accomplished over the next year. 

Depending on the work, some goals can span several years or have a shorter time-span. Use your judgement to set the goals that do not fit an annual time frame. 

Setting Goals - the first step in effective performance management

1. Review the Quick Guide to Goal Setting

The Quick Guide to Goal Setting outlines the best practices that are proven to make the goal-setting process more effective:

  1. Clarify broader priorities.
  2. Consider employee role and skills.
  3. Identify up to three most important expectations (in both results - the "WHAT" and behaviors - the "HOW").
  4. Discuss and invite input to finalize goals.
  5. Check-in to review progress and update goals.

U of M Leadership CompetenciesHow results are achieved is often described by how well the person works with others; that's when the behavioral competencies come into play.

Don't have a behavioral competency model?

Go to to learn more about the competency model developed at the University of Minnesota to support talent development discussions.

View Printable Guide

2. Check what you have learned so far

Need to practice? Work through the scenario below to see how would you set goals for Jonah Dunwoody.

Setting goals for Jonah

3. Apply

Use this template to set broad, annual goals or ongoing and specific flexible goals as new projects or assignments come up (MS Word).

Download Template

Want to dig deeper?

The science behind Effective Performance Management - materials curated for you by our Leadership and Talent Development team.

Have a Question?

We are happy to help! We also invite you to share your successes in using this material and/or letting us know how we can improve it. Submit your question about the course content to an LTD consultant.