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Accelerating direct reports' action towards achieving goals

The key is continuous communication about the goal, sharing the same organizational goal, and giving specific feedback.

What are the managers doing to drive direct reports' actions for achieving their goals?

We have introduced in "Goal Achievement and Performance Reviews" on how "spending more time with direct reports to talk about the organizational goals" and "keeping track of their progress and providing feedback" is essential in getting the direct reports to be more determined about achieving their goals.

What other interactions are useful in accelerating the direct reports' actions towards achieving goals?

As Coaching Research Institute concluded that "Giving feedback" is the most important action for the managers to take, we would like to look deeply into this by reflecting back on the three survey questions listed below.

・Feedback as a catalyst
Does feedback from the manager become a catalyst to taking new action?
(4 point scale: 4. Works as a catalyst; 1. Does not work)

・Specific feedback
Is the manager's feedback specific enough?
(4 point scale: 4. Very specific; 1. Not specific enough)

・Reasons for selecting the answers for questions above. (Free answer)
As a result of the survey, "feedback as a catalyst" and "specific feedback" had a strong correlation (r=.70).

Next in Figure 1, we looked into the free answers of both people who felt their leader's feedback has worked as a catalyst for taking new action (those who chose 3 or 4; left side) and people who answered manager's feedback did not work enough as a catalyst for taking new action (those who chose 1or 2; right side) and looked for some characteristics.

Figure 1. Characteristics in managers' feedback
People who were motivated to take new actions by manager's feedback
(Feedback from the manager became a catalyst to take new actions)
<Those who chose 3,4 in the survey>
People who were not motivated to take new actions by manager's feedback.
(Feedback from the manager did not become a catalyst to take new actions)
<Those who chose 1,2 in the survey>
  • The manager conveyed to us the direction we are heading.
  • The manager talked about the gap between the ideal situation and the current situation.
  • The manager gave feedback to not only short term goals, but to long term goals as well.
  • The manager did not share the organizational goal and talks as a formality about superficial things in a one-sided manner.
  • The manager did not know the work contents (is not paying attention)
  • There were no chances to discuss about why that specific goal needs to be set.

It seems that sharing the organizational goal is one key factor to making direct reports to start taking new actions. People who said their manager's feedback encouraged them taking new actions said "The manager conveyed to us the direction we are heading", and the people who said their manager's feedback did not encourage them taking new actions ascribed to their manager no sharing of the organization goal.

Also, discussion on goal setting or talking about the ideal situation has shown to be an important interaction for managers to motivate their direct reports.

As a conclusion, to accelerate direct reports' action towards achieving their goals, the continuation of communication on the topic, and sharing the direction the organization is heading to and its goal is crucial. Also, feedback as specific as possible works best.

This might be a good chance to look into how you can work on accelerating direct reports' actions towards achieving goals.

Research Overview

No. of samples:200 readers of COACH A's Weekly Global Coach Magazine who answered the survey
Period:2016 January 20th~2016 February 9th
Survey method: Web survey
Survey tool:Survey on how getting feedback works on achieving the goal

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