A team that has its sights on a solid objective is bound to work hard to achieve that objective. This objective is also known as a goal. A milestone, on the other hand, is basically like a timetable of the project life. For example, if you set ‘reaching the state finals’ as your goal, one of your milestones would be ‘ranked top five by the first quarter of the season’.

Goals and milestones complement each other like bread and butter. Having one without the other will render one ineffective. A goal acts as a source of inspiration and a sense of objective that is shared by the whole team. Each and every member will have an idea of what needs to be done to achieve that goal.

The milestone, on the other hand, comes in handy as a check and balance system towards achieving the goal that was set. As mentioned earlier, milestones are set points along your project lifespan to achieve certain smaller objectives. Therefore, if the team is unable to achieve a certain point as scheduled, it is indicative that something needs to be done to resolve the lag.

When setting goals and milestones, it is important that you set them ‘with’ your team rather than ‘for’ your team. By including every team member in this process, a sense of ownership towards the goals will be developed. This will later be reflected in their sheer commitment towards achieving all the milestones. Also, having clear goals will avoid misunderstandings between your players and your support staff with yourself.

Goals should be set so that they are realistic and achievable. This is important to give the goal a sense of credibility to it. Although it’s not wrong to dream of big goals, just be sure that those goals are realistic. By having realistic goals, you and your team can work together progressively towards achieving them.

In addition to this, the goals and milestones that you set with your team must be specific, measurable and time-related. Specific simply means that what needs to be achieved and when it needs to be achieved are mentioned explicitly. For example ‘everyone must be able to sprint below 10 seconds before 31st January’ is a specific goal that can be followed. This goal is also time related and measurable.

To make sure that everyone chips in their ideas towards setting up the goals for the team, talk to them beforehand about this. Tell them about the importance of goals and how they can help the team. After that, ask them to go home and put serious thought into it.

When you see them during the next practice session, take up some time after or before practice to discuss the goals. Try to get the team to agree on certain goals. Once this is completed, remind all of their commitment towards the goals.

The good thing about having these goals is that you will be able to use them as a source of motivation for your team. Always remind them of what the team as a whole wants to achieve and how the team agreed to work towards achieving them.