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Be Goals, Do Goals

Goals should be developed with employee input and focus on what matters most. This article provides some tips to develop specific, measurable, and time-focused goals that will challenge the employee.

Are you a finisher? Do you love the feel of completing a task and checking it off your list? Goal completion is a strong human motivator. Yet, writing significant goals that have a positive impact on the work environment can be tough. Here's a framework to consider the next time you begin to draft goals.

Goals fall into two categories: "be" goals and "do" goals.

"Be" goals are goals that define an expectation for how the employee is to act. Goals that describe how we want the employee to "be" are behavioral. Examples of "be" goals include:

· Provide helpful customer service to each citizen who comes to the

· Arrive to work by 8:00 a.m. each morning.

· Wear your personal protective equipment at all times on the jobsite.

Because "be" goals describe how you want the person to behave, they are on-going and often very difficult to measure. When you describe how you expect an employee to perform the work the outcome is often a general description of your expectations. "Be" goals are usually expressed in your policies, procedures, and other documentation. Generally "be" goals apply to anyone in the job, rather than to a specific individual. As a result, they are usually not very exciting.

Instead of developing "be" goals, focus on writing "do" goals. "Do" goals define specific outcomes and are easily measured. "Do" goals are observable and establish a clear path for the employee to follow. Examples of "do" goals are:

· Conduct all required preventive maintenance activities on the ABC pump
  each month and document the completion of the work in the monthly log.

· Research available electronic payment systems and write a report on your
  findings, including recommendations for moving forward by April 30.

· Write a procedure manual for the establishment of new clients and
  present it to the team for approval by August 15.

While "be" goals can be developed as specific, measurable, and time-focused, they are often so general that they do not challenge the employee to complete something tangible. To more fully motivate employees with your goal-setting process, focus on drafting "do" goals that challenge them to produce a concrete result.

When goals are developed with employee input and sufficiently challenge the employee to produce something "realArticle Search," the goals have done their job.

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Marnie E. Green is Principal Consultant of the Management Education Group, Inc. and is a leading expert in the management of public sector employees.  Her book, Painless Performance Evaluations, is used worldwide by federal, state, and local government leaders. Contact Green at phone: 480-705-9394 email: web site:

We offer this article on a nonexclusive basis. You may reprint or repost this material as long as Marnie Green's name and contact information are included.

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