7 Keys To Effective Goal Setting

In 1990, two leaders in the well-researched field of goal setting, Gary P. Latham and Edwin A. Locke, presented their findings based on nearly 300 laboratory and 156 field studies in goal setting. Their basic research conclusions continue to be valid. The following seven factors are consistently identified as the key principles that contribute to successful individual goal setting:

  1. PARTICIPATION – Collaborative or joint goal setting between a supervisor and a subordinate leads to higher commitment than just telling someone what to do with very little explanation.
  2. SPECIFICITY – For goals to be effective, there must be crystal-clear delineation of exactly what performance is required with specific parameters defined.
  3. MEASUREMENT/FEEDBACK – Frequent measurement and feedback in order to track goal progress is essential to positive outcome.
  4. REWARD – External or internal rewards and personal recognition are critical for maximizing special goal efforts.
  5. CHALLENGE – A very notable finding is that the more difficult a goal is, the more likely it is to be achieved; a more challenging goal provides greater motivation.
  6. SELF-EFFICACY (CONFIDENCE) – Self-efficacy refers to the level of confidence that one feels about their ability to achieve their goal.
  7. COMMITMENT – Commitment is the level of personal conviction that the goal selected is indeed of great importance to the individual.


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