Having a remote team can sometimes mean that goals get lost in the mix, and keeping track of everything you want to accomplish can get muddled if there are too many working parts. However, there are a few ways you can enable your remote team to accomplish whatever goals they might have. Read on for some expert input from Robin Landa, a Distinguished Professor at Kean University and the author of The New Art of Ideas.

Examples of goals for remote teams

Enabling your remote team to hit goals on time means that, more than anything, you need to have the right goals to hit. If you’re having difficulty thinking of examples of remote team goals that seem both reasonable and operational, here are a few your team might want to consider.

1. Create communication styles

Communication is the single most crucial piece of a remote team’s arsenal of tools – but that’s a given. What’s not a given is turning your communication issues into goals and trying to create a style all your own, dependent on your team’s distinct group personality.

“Agree to communicate through dialogue and not debate,” Landa says. “When a team communicates through dialogue, the focus is on understanding other members’ perspectives. People debate with winning in mind, but teamwork requires collaboration and understanding; teamwork happens through dialogue, which fosters respect and trust.”

2. Connecting often

One of Landa’s suggestions is for remote teams to put connection at the forefront of their goals list. This could be a goal of connecting once a day for stand-up or having one large meeting at the end of the week to review work done throughout the week.

“Connecting often ensures everyone is working together towards a common goal,” she adds. “Whether it’s group chats, video conferencing, collaborative notes, project chats, an office messaging program, or an old-school conference call, discussions aid in staying on point. Connecting quickly prevents misunderstandings and heading in the wrong directions.”

3. Differentiating short- and long-term goals

Some goals, like projects, tasks, or housekeeping items, are short-term goals. But your team can also have long-term goals, like hitting a certain revenue increase, publishing an article, or launching a new product.

“Short-term goals usually fall under long-term goals, which are often broader and overarching,” Landa says. “It’s helpful to divide a goal into objectives, smaller, more manageable aims. Determine who is responsible for accomplishing which and the type and level of collaboration involved.”

4. Have a goal examination process

This might seem a bit meta, but sometimes the best goals are ones that examine other goals. Create a protocol for goal enhancement with the ultimate mission of streamlining overall processes.

“Examine each goal for the gap it will fill in the organization and the benefit it will provide to individuals, businesses, society, or the planet. Think about the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit— rather than only profit.”

5. Break down larger goals

Sometimes, the reason that your goals might fail is that they’re too large. Making tiny goals can make you feel like you accomplish more, increasing team morale and completing projects with a bit more expediency. Examples of micro-goals could be responding to emails, doing project proofs, or completing a client call.

“Since you have to make a concerted effort to meet with others remotely,” Landa says, “use that momentum to stay focused and productive. When the team meets, ask what they think should be accomplished that week and why. Ask, what do we hope to achieve this week? Why is this important? How will we achieve it? Who needs to work on it?”

6. Obtaining diverse feedback

Lastly, one additional goal could be to get feedback on the content you produce. Once you complete some head-down work, tap into your network and see if you can’t get some fresh eyes on things – and explore a group or an individual you might not normally ask.

“Dialogue with others, especially with a diverse group of people that gives you different and multiple perspectives, could spark recognition of a goal or a gap,” Landa says. “Too often, particular groups of people are excluded from discussions about goals and ideas. Learn from everyone.”

7. Acknowledge hiccups in hitting goals

Remote teams can sometimes hit snags when trying to achieve goals on time, especially if the goals are too nebulous or too much like stretch goals. Landa notes that with remote teams, communicating these goals can be especially hard, as teams can become siloed away from their more extensive organization.

“There are no halls to walk, no physical conference rooms… With no corporate lunchrooms or serendipitous chats in hallways, robust communication is key to staying on track,” Landa says. “Aligning each team’s and team member’s goals with the organization’s goals allows individuals to better understand how they are contributing to the greater health of the organization. This also entails fully understanding the organization’s mission.”

Having team leaders that encourage discourse and provide a lifeline to the organization, Landa adds, is imperative for accomplishing goals. When teams feel like they’re anchored in stability, the support can provide them with freedom and autonomy.

Building goal-tackling synergy

Landa’s final thoughts about setting and accomplishing remote goals promptly is that to craft your team into a well-oiled machine, everyone in the team needs to find their niche and find ways to unite as one cohesive unit.

1. Common values

To keep from the previously mentioned silo mentality in remote teams, it’s important to tie yourselves back to goals or cultural systems that your organization might have. Finding common corporate values can actually become an opportunity to leverage skills or abilities.

“Share what everyone on the team respects about the company’s mission, what they appreciate about teamwork, expect as a member of a team, and which qualities they respect in individuals.”

2. Build synergistic language

Landa emphasizes that using assertive language can be destructive to a team’s synergy and that being considerate and empathetic with your teammates is the best way to create a connection that carries over to your work.

“Things to consider are using the improv tool of “Yes, and…” when holding discussions and dialogue, which does not shut anyone’s contribution down,” Landa says. “And reiterating common values and goals. Listen, and be willing to learn from teammates; that fuels productive teamwork.”

3. Leveraging tech

Finally, every remote team needs good tech tools to succeed in accomplishing goals. Without them, there’s no way to communicate in the consistent and straightforward ways you need to so that everyone is on the same page.

“There’s teleconferencing on Zoom or Google Meets, online calendars like Toggl Plan, for planning projects, managing schedules, productivity tools, and tracking tasks,” Landa says, “collaborating on or managing projects like Hive or Trello, communicating – Slack, Discord, Twitch – or using a world clock and online meeting scheduler.”