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Goal Clarity

“But it is clear, what we are working towards here!“, the team leader says to the coach. However, it is naïve or even careless to believe that a written or expressed goal is automatically clear. ‘Clear’ is easily confused with ‘defined’. In social systems, though, nothing can be defined, because one cannot copy any identical data sets in biological hard drives so that an agreement about it would become superfluous.

Clear goals in teams must be developed through (continuous) communication. A goal is clear, when everyone in the team can express, in their own (!) words, what they, themselves, and the others in the team, contribute, with what they do, to the primary task of the team. Ultimately, everyone in the team must be able to provide information, at any moment during his work, about what and for whom the current activity is useful. Occasionally, as a consultant, one can only be surprised when visiting the teams on site, how few of the employees can give this information. “I just do as I am told!” is what one is told. On the one hand this leads to tight working and on the other hand it allows much scope for other goal setting in the team. This can be helpful in terms of motivation, but problematic in terms of the accomplishment of the team’s goals.

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