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Team vs Individual Business Goals: Understanding Them Both

Team vs Individual Business Goals



As you reach for your business objectives, you’ll notice two distinct categories: team goals and individual goals. Each type of goal wields its unique power in driving corporate progress. Team goals work towards building a cohesive unit, striving to accomplish shared objectives, underpinning the fundamental concept of synergy. On the other hand, individual goals reflect personal ambition and potential, contributing to the broader objectives by honing individual skills and performance.

While they may seem dichotomous, a harmonious alignment of these goal types forms the cornerstone of effective business strategy. Effective goal setting empowers small businesses to achieve greater heights through organized strategy. In this article, you’ll learn how to distinguish team goals from individual goals and how to make the best of both.

Effective Business Goal Setting

Although goal setting is widely regarded as a necessary business process, you might be surprised to discover that 90% of businesses fail to meet their organized goals. If goal setting is so important, why do so many businesses struggle to reach their recorded milestones year after year? The truth is, there’s a lot more to effective goal setting than just deciding what you want to achieve.

When you break it down into smaller pieces, a company’s organizational goals have a lot in common with the average New Year’s resolution. A vague, long-term outcome is visualized, and most people lose steam working toward it after just a few months. Like business goals, most New Year’s resolutions aren’t able to withstand the test of time.

Goal setting starts with identifying a desirable outcome. But, each step of the process from beginning to end should ideally be mapped out in more detail. Naturally, there are always unforeseen circumstances that might delay the achievement of our goals. However, we should do everything in our power to take the wheel and steer fate in the direction of our choosing.

Understanding different types business of goals can help create a solid foundation for our plans. Using team goals in congruence with individual goals can streamline collective progress, reward employees for reaching milestones, and can even inspire you and your employees along the way.

There are two major types of goals with which you should become familiar. Both of these goal types are necessary for progress toward your envisioned outcome, and they must be used together to be most effective.

Team Goals

Team goals refer to collective and overarching business goals which are accomplished over time by an organized group. These goals come in all shapes and sizes and can be assigned to numerous styles of groups. First and foremost, you should create task groups.

Task Groups

Task groups are formed to solve a business problem or to implement a business strategy. The age-old philosophy that “two heads are better than one” generally sets the expectations for the team’s chances of success. How you choose to organize task groups is entirely up to you. Sometimes task groups are composed of small teams with similar skills. And sometimes employee personalities come more into play, allowing natural chemistry to inspire bright ideas.

Task groups should be composed of reliable individuals who can be trusted to manage and prioritize their milestones on a smaller scale. Ideally, task groups should be self-regulating. You don’t want to waste time babysitting a dysfunctional task group when there’s important work to be done.

When creating task groups, you can decide whether to delegate specific roles or allow the group to self-organize. From there, you can assign each task group a distinct, overarching business goal, which they’ll progress toward as a collective.

Focus Sessions

Once you’ve formed task groups, the next step is to implement focus sessions. Focus sessions are periodic group meetings, intended for brainstorming specifically around current team goals. 

The most popular structure for a focus session includes an overall 90-minute period of time that is devoted entirely to one specific project. Task groups should be encouraged to schedule focus sessions in advance so that there is a designated time and place to meet their goals. Although there are official platforms that provide the space for focus sessions, you can easily set them up in your own style.

Group Chemistry Examples

Team goals offer the benefit of faster progress and better ideas at the cost of potential conflict and distraction. For example, even if a group seems like a perfect fit on paper, certain team members may go about things very differently, which can disrupt workflow. Conversely, team members who are closer friends may tend to delay tasks and over-socialize at the expense of progress.

A great way to assess the potential strength of certain groups is to try team-building exercises. Using a fun activity or a competitive game, split your team into small groups and allow them to self-organize. This can give you a glimpse into their chemistry together. Also, it can give them a chance to test the waters of professional compatibility.

Team goals should be intentionally broad. Doing this allows each team member to take control of their own smaller facet of the project. Team goals should connect back to an overarching team goal so that your selected groups know that their work contributes to a bigger picture.

Here are some examples of team goals:

  • Earn a new certification for all team members by the end of the year
  • Create and grow a social media platform for the company within 6 months
  • Increase customer satisfaction rates by 20% by next year

You may notice that these goals are on a broader spectrum. You’ll also observe the results are expected within a reasonable time frame which tends to run more long-term. Ideally, team goals should be vague enough that they can be divided into multiple smaller tasks, but specific enough that one group can tackle it.

Individual Goals

Individual goals refer to the goals assigned independently to employees at a more personal level. Contrary to team goals, these goals are often more specific and guided, but in return require a certain skill set.

The core idea behind assigning individual goals is that they’re self-regulatory. This means just their presence encourages employees to prioritize their workload. Individual goals should be simple and specific enough that micro-management is not required or effective. Also, each employee should be held accountable for tracking their own progress.

Connecting employees to your company’s vision of success does more than just encourage progress and productivity. Employees who feel connected to their company’s goals and values are more engaged with their work and perform 20% better on average. 

Not only are they now working toward company goals, but the work they’re doing is actually a significantly higher quality because you’re fostering feelings of inspiration in the workplace.

Individual Goals Examples

Although individual goals should be tracked by each employee, your support goes a long way in encouraging progress and maintaining motivation. As your employees work toward their goals, recognize and reward their efforts to ensure that their success becomes self-sustaining.

Here are some examples of individual goals:

  • Create a professional profile on a company website or social media account
  • Increase personal leads for a sales quarter
  • Learn a new skill over the course of 6 months

These goals are typically met within a smaller time frame than team goals. This is because only one person is managing every aspect of their development. Nevertheless, empower your employees and let them know that they’re capable of accomplishing meaningful tasks which help your company grow on a bigger scale.


Goal setting should be like a second language to a successful business. Not only does organizational goal setting unite your team toward common goals, but it allows you to take control over your company’s success. Rather than hoping things work out, you can take matters into your own hands. With the help of a capable team and motivated individuals, it’s possible to tackle any project.

Also Read:

7 First-Year Business Goals to Set for Yourself

7 Powerful Medium-Term Goals to Set for Your Business

Ari Bratsis
Team Writer: Ari is a writer, blogger and small business owner based in Washington state.

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Find Your Way · Grow Your Business · Leading Your Team · Productivity · Your Mindset

Team Writer: Ari is a writer, blogger and small business owner based in Washington state.

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