Goal-Setting Lessons: Clarity, Communications and Capabilities

Where are your goal-setting challenges?


Harihar Subramanian is head of finance for Americas at SITA and former CFO of Leadercast. As a leader skilled in problem-solving and strategic goal setting, he offers tips for setting and achieving realistic goals based on his experience with large enterprises as well as startups.

When you talk about goals, there's nothing that's impossible. It's just a little bit more difficult to achieve it. There are some leaders who believe in thinking big, who go after it and have the charisma to take the organization along with them, to get to that goal. There are some people who have big goals but the communication is not effective, people are not brought into the idea of "Where are we going?" That's typically where we run into a problem in any organization, is when leadership says "This is where we want to go" and that doesn't necessarily get transmitted down to the organization. People are not sure as to which direction are we going, why are we doing this. That clarity is absolutely important.

Now on the flip side, when you talk about "What should the goals be? How do you measure it? How do you want to..." you've got to set up realistic goals. If you say "I'm going to go to the moon next year," if this was 1965, it would not have happened. So you've got to understand where our limitations are and when I say limitations in terms of resources, in terms of capabilities, in terms of technology, not the ability for us to give it 110%. I think when you do that, when people understand that, "Here is a person who's going to stand by me, who's going to run with me, who's going to help me along the way to reach my goal," the commitment is more than 110%.

I think really good leaders make sure their message is communicated, make sure that they are in the trenches with the rest of the organization and that really helps. People are motivated. A motivated team can achieve anything they want. We set our own limitations, we set our own objectives, I think that's about how we collectively can get there and if that messaging at the leadership level, can communicate that we are in this together, we will arrive together, we will win together, we will fail together. I think that's a powerful message that every organization would love to hear.

Harihar Subramanian

Harihar Subramanian is the Head of Finance for Americas at SITA and former Director of Finance for Phillips Electronics/India.

He was a member of the Philips Electronics team for 10 years, working in North America, India and...

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