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8 Best Goal Setting Activities, Games & Exercises for Employees
Corporate Training

8 Best Goal Setting Activities, Games & Exercises for Employees

8 mins read

by Pete Ford

Updated On Jul 15, 2024

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Goal setting is a fundamental behavior modification technique that serves as the cornerstone of an organization's vision, whether the goal is to enhance market presence, achieve financial milestones, or streamline operational efficiencies. Effective goal setting skills ensure that every action taken is a step towards achieving these critical objectives, providing a clear path for sustained growth and improvement. By embedding SMART goal setting exercises for teams into the organizational culture, companies can cultivate a proactive and motivated workforce who are well-equipped to tackle challenges and capitalize on opportunities with clarity and confidence. 

“Research has shown that teams that set specific, challenging goals outperform those with vague or easy goals. In fact, 90% of the time, setting specific and challenging goals leads to higher performance than easy goals. Clear goals provide direction, focus attention, and increase effort and persistence.”

Team Goal-setting activities & ideas for work are crucial, not just for defining achievable workplace goals but also for outlining the steps needed to reach them effectively. These fun goal setting exercises for employees break down large, broad ambitions into manageable tasks, providing a structured pathway toward achievement. This structured approach promotes accountability and motivation among employees, ensuring progress is tracked and adjustments are made as necessary to stay on course. The blog offers practical team goal setting exercises for business that can help organizations refine their goals and create a more focused and motivated workforce, driving continuous improvement and sustained growth.

Effective Goal Setting Activities for Employees:

Employees should not only possess the required skills to attain a goal, but they must also believe in their capabilities of reaching the goal. Below are some of the activities and games for setting goals that instigates employees to recognize their abilities:

1. “The Winning Lottery Ticket” Training Activity:

"Winning Lottery Ticket" is one of the fun goal setting games for adults that encourage participants to dream big by imagining how they would allocate a large sum of money to achieve their workplace goals.

“The Winning Lottery Ticket” Training Activity
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How to Conduct the "Winning Lottery Ticket" Activity:

  • Ensure all employees are seated in a circle or around a table.
  • Distribute a blank piece of paper or index card and a pen to each employee.
  • Have each employee write down one professional goal they would like to achieve that would benefit the organization. It should take them between 5 and 10 minutes to complete this assignment.
  • Collect all the papers or index cards in a container or hat once everyone has finished writing their goals.
  • Shake the container well to ensure a random mix of the goals.
  • Draw one goal at random from the container and read it aloud to the group involved in this SMART goal setting activity. If anonymity is preferred, read it without revealing the author.
  • Facilitate a discussion about the written goal, encouraging the workforce to suggest ways the goal could be achieved, share strategies, resources, and potential obstacles.
  • Continue discussing goals until all goals have been shared or as time allows.
  • After all the goals have been discussed, ask employees to reflect on how to set activity goals and the process of setting and sharing their goals at the workplace.

Questions to Ask Participants Immediately After the Activity:

  • How did you feel when your goal was read aloud and discussed by the group?
  • Were you surprised by any of the feedback or suggestions you received for your goal? If so, which ones and why?
  • What was the most unexpected piece of advice or insight you gained from the group discussion?
  • How did hearing a variety of goals from your colleagues influence your own goal setting approach?
  • Did this setting goals activity help you identify any common challenges or opportunities that others are facing in achieving their goals?

Key Takeaways:

By writing and sharing their workplace goals in these group goal setting games for employees, they can practice creating clear and achievable objectives and receive valuable feedback and support from their peers. This quick goal setting activity encourages collaborative approach and fosters innovative problem-solving and teamwork, increasing the chances of reaching these workplace goals. This activity on goal setting also fosters a culture of accountability and progress, ensuring that employees' goals consistently support the organization's overall success.

2. “Standing Ovation” Training Activity:

"Standing Ovation" is one of the training games for goal setting that allows participants to envision their ultimate success by writing a speech they would give upon achieving a major goal. 

“Standing Ovation” Training Activity
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How to Conduct the "Standing Ovation" Activity:

  • Ensure all employees are seated comfortably in a room with ample space for standing and moving around.
  • As one of the creative goal setting activities, participants must be asked to think of a professional goal that aligns with the organization’s objectives and that they are currently working towards or planning to pursue.
  • Invite each employee, one at a time, to stand up and share their goal with the group, explaining why it is important and how it will benefit the organization. Allow 2-3 minutes for each employee.
  • After each employee shares their goal, encourage the rest of the group to give a standing ovation, showing support and enthusiasm for the goal.
  • After the standing ovation for each employee, have a brief discussion with the group participating in the activity to offer constructive feedback, suggestions, or resources that might help the employee achieve their goal. Encourage positive and supportive interactions.
  • Continue this process until every employee has the opportunity to share their goal and receive a standing ovation and feedback from their peers.
  • Once all goals have been shared in this one of the fun goal setting group activities for adults, ask the group to reflect on the experience, discussing how support and encouragement from colleagues can positively impact a goal’s achievement.

Questions to Ask Participants Immediately After the Activity:

  • What specific feedback or suggestions from your colleagues do you think will be most helpful in achieving your goal?
  • Did hearing others’ goals and receiving their support change your perspective on your own goal or how to achieve it?
  • How did the process of publicly stating your goal affect your commitment to achieving it?
  • How can we continue to support each other in achieving our professional goals?
  • How do you plan to implement the feedback and suggestions you received today?

Key Takeaways:

The "Standing Ovation" activity effectively engages employees in sharing their professional goals and receiving enthusiastic support from their peers. This process of publicly stating goals and receiving immediate positive reinforcement boosts motivation and commitment. The collaborative feedback and constructive suggestions help refine these goals, making them more actionable and aligned with organizational objectives.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk emphasizes setting grand, visionary goals like colonizing Mars to inspire and propel progress. He advocates breaking down these big goals into smaller, achievable tasks, such as reducing space travel costs and developing reusable rockets, to build momentum and confidence. Implementing timelines accelerates progress towards these goals, as seen in SpaceX's rapid advancements in space technology aiming for Mars missions.

3. "Backward Goal Setting" Training Activity:

The "Backward Goal Setting" is an employee goal setting training activity that involves starting with the end workplace goal in mind of a participant and working backward to identify the necessary steps to achieve it.

"Backward Goal Setting" Training Activity
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How to Conduct the "Backward Goal Setting" Activity:

  • Ensure all employees are seated comfortably with writing materials (paper, pens, or digital devices).
  • Ask each employee to think of a professional goal that aligns with the organization’s objectives.
  • Instruct employees to visualize the successful completion of their goal and write a detailed description of what success of that goal looks like.
  • Once the end goal is clearly defined, ask employees to identify the final milestone or step immediately before achieving the goal. Ask them to write this down.
  • Employees should continue working backward, identifying each preceding milestone or step required to reach the final milestone. They have to write these steps down in reverse order until the starting point is reached.
  • Once all steps are identified, ask employees to review their plan from start to finish to ensure logical progression and feasibility.
  • Facilitate a discussion where employees can share their goals and backward plans with the group, offering feedback and suggestions for improvement.
  • Ask employees to reflect on the process and discuss how this approach might change their perspective on goal setting.

Questions to Ask Participants Immediately After the Activity:

  • How did visualizing the end goal first influence the way you approached identifying the necessary steps?
  • What challenges did you face when working backward from the goal completion to the starting point?
  • Did this method help you uncover any steps or milestones you might have overlooked otherwise?
  • How did breaking down the goal into smaller, specific milestones affect your confidence in achieving it?
  • Were there any surprises in the sequence of steps you identified for reaching your goal?
  • Did working backward help you see any potential obstacles or bottlenecks more clearly? If so, how do you plan to address them?
  • How did this activity change your perspective on the importance of planning and foresight in goal setting

Key Takeaways:

The "Backward Goal Setting" activity begins with employees visualizing their end goal and working backward to identify the necessary steps, providing a clear, actionable plan. This approach helps employees uncover overlooked milestones and potential obstacles, enhancing strategic planning and foresight. By breaking down workplace goals into smaller, specific milestones, employees build confidence and create a logical progression towards success.

4. “Rate your Yesterday” Training Activity:

"Rate Your Yesterday" activity is a reflective exercise that encourages participants to assess their previous day’s performance in relation to their goals. 

“Rate your Yesterday” Training Activity
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How to Conduct the "Rate Your Yesterday" Activity:

  • Ensure all employees are seated comfortably with writing materials (paper, pens, or digital devices).
  • Ask each employee to think about their previous workday and list the key tasks and activities they completed.
  • Instruct employees to rate their performance for each task on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest, based on criteria such as efficiency, quality, and timeliness.
  • Ensure that employees are honest and objective with their ratings to gain accurate insights, and assure them there will be no negative repercussions for their honesty.
  • Once the ratings are completed, ask employees to identify any patterns or trends in their performance, such as high or low productivity periods.
  • Facilitate a discussion where employees share their reflections, ratings, and identified patterns with the group, highlighting areas of strength and opportunities for improvement.

Questions to Ask Participants Immediately After the Activity:

  • How did reflecting on and rating your performance from yesterday help you identify areas of improvement?
  • What patterns or trends did you notice in your productivity and performance throughout the day?
  • Were there any specific tasks where you rated yourself lower than expected? If so, why do you think that was the case?
  • What steps can you take today to improve on the areas you identified as needing improvement?

Key Takeaways:

By reflecting on and rating their performance from the previous day, employees gain valuable insights into their productivity and areas for improvement. This activity helps identify patterns and trends, allowing for more informed goal setting and better time management. Setting specific, actionable goals based on these reflections fosters continuous improvement and enhances overall efficiency. Regular practice of self-assessment can lead to sustained personal and organizational growth.

Daymond John emphasizes

Daymond John emphasizes understanding your "why" before setting goals, ensuring they have a clear purpose. He advocates for giving goals an "expiration date" to make them achievable within specific time frames. Writing down goals and reading them twice a day helps maintain focus, while shutting out external noise and sticking to one's goals enables the visualization and achievement of success.

5. “One, Some, Many” Training Activity:

The "One, Some, Many" is one of the SMART goal setting activities for teams that helps participants understand the different scales of workplace goals and the varying approaches needed to achieve them. By categorizing goals based on whether they can be achieved individually, with a small group, or with a larger community, participants can better strategize and allocate resources.

“One, Some, Many” Training Activity
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How to Conduct the "One, Some, Many" Activity:

  • As one of the unique goal setting exercises for groups, have all employees be seated comfortably with writing materials (paper, pens, or digital devices).
  • Ask each employee to think of a professional goal that aligns with the organization’s objectives.
  • Instruct employees to write down their goal at the top of their paper.
  • Below the goal, create three columns or sections labeled "One," "Some," and "Many."
  • Ask employees to list tasks under each column based on whether the task can be accomplished by one person, requires a small team (some), or needs a larger group (many).
  • Encourage employees to think critically about the resources and collaboration needed for each task.
  • Once the lists are complete, ask employees to prioritize the tasks within each column based on their importance and urgency.
  • Facilitate a discussion where employees share their goals and categorized tasks with the group, offering feedback and suggestions for improvement.
  • Encourage employees to create an action plan for their goal, starting with the tasks listed under "One," then moving to "Some," and finally "Many."
  • Summarize the key points discussed, emphasizing the importance of breaking down goals into manageable tasks and understanding the resources required for each step.

Questions to Ask Participants Immediately After the Activity:

  • How did breaking down your goal into "One," "Some," and "Many" tasks change your understanding of what needs to be done?
  • Which tasks did you find most challenging to categorize and why?
  • How did this activity help you identify the specific resources and team members you need to achieve your goal?
  • How will you use the prioritized task lists to guide your daily and weekly work?
  • What new strategies or approaches did you discover by categorizing your tasks this way?
  • What support or resources from the organization would help you most in completing the tasks identified in the "Some" and "Many" categories?

Key Takeaways:

The "One, Some, Many" is one of the interactive goal setting activities that helps employees gain a clear understanding of the resources and collaboration needed to achieve their goals by categorizing tasks into "One," "Some," and "Many". This structured approach helps prioritize tasks, ensuring a logical progression from individual efforts to team and organizational actions. This fun goal setting activity for adults enhances strategic planning and fosters effective teamwork, promoting efficient goal achievement.

6. “Goal Communication Role Play” Training Activity:

"Goal Communication Role Play" is one of the goal setting training games that involves employees practicing the communication of their goals to others through role-playing scenarios, enhancing their ability to clearly express and discuss their objectives.

“Goal Communication Role Play” Training Activity
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How to Conduct the "Goal Communication Role Play" Activity:

  • Divide the employees into multiple pairs, depending on the size of the group.
  • Have all employees be seated with writing materials (paper, pens, or digital devices).
  • Ask each employee to write down a professional goal that aligns with the organization’s objectives.
  • Assign roles within each pair: one person will play the role of the goal communicator, and the other will play the role of the listener, such as a manager, colleague, or stakeholder.
  • Instruct the goal communicator to present their goal to the listener, explaining why it is important, how it will benefit the organization, and what support or resources are needed.
  • Encourage the listener to ask questions, provide feedback, and discuss any concerns or suggestions they might have.
  • After a set time (e.g., 5-7 minutes), ask the pairs to switch roles so that everyone has a chance to practice both communicating and listening.
  • Facilitate a group discussion where employees share their experiences, challenges, and insights gained from the role-playing exercise.
  • Ask employees to reflect on how this activity helped them improve their goal communication skills and identify any areas for further improvement.

Questions to Ask Participants Immediately After the Activity:

  • How did practicing goal communication in a role-playing scenario help you clarify your goal?
  • What challenges did you encounter when explaining your goal to your partner?
  • How did the feedback from your listener influence your understanding of how to communicate your goal more effectively?
  • Were there any questions or concerns raised by your listener that you hadn't considered before? If so, what were they?
  • How did playing the role of the listener help you understand the importance of clear goal communication?
  • What strategies did you find most effective in conveying the importance and benefits of your goal to your listener?
  • Did this activity help you identify any gaps in your current goal setting process? If so, what are they?

Key Takeaways:

By practicing goal communication through role-playing scenarios, employees learn to clearly express and discuss their objectives with colleagues, managers, and stakeholders. “Goal Communication Role Play” is one of the goal setting team activities that highlights the importance of addressing potential questions and concerns, enhancing both clarity and confidence in goal communication. The insights and feedback gained from team building, goal setting activities for adults such as “Goal Communication Role Play”, would help employees refine their approach, ensuring that their goals are understood and supported within the organization. 

7. "Vision Board" Training Activity:

A "Vision Board" activity is one of the creative and strategic group goal setting exercises for adults in which team members visualize and articulate their goals using images, quotes, and symbols. 

"Vision Board" Training Activity
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How to Conduct the "Vision Board" Activity:

  • Gather materials needed for the activity, such as large sheets of paper or poster boards, magazines, scissors, glue, markers, and any other craft supplies.
  • Ensure all employees are seated comfortably and have ample space to work on their vision boards.
  • Ask each employee to think of a professional goal that aligns with the organization’s objectives and visualize what success looks like for that goal.
  • Distribute the materials to each employee.
  • Instruct employees to browse through magazines and cut out images, words, or phrases that resonate with their goal and represent the steps needed to achieve it.
  • Encourage employees to be creative and think about various aspects of their goal, including milestones, resources, and the impact on the organization.
  • Once employees have gathered their images and words, ask them to arrange and glue them onto their vision boards in a way that clearly represents their goal and the path to achieving it.
  • Allow employees to spend 30-45 minutes creating their vision boards, offering assistance and guidance as needed.
  • After the vision boards are completed, invite employees to present their boards to the group, explaining the significance of the chosen images and how they represent their goals and the steps to achieve them.
  • Facilitate a group discussion as a part of this goal setting, team building activity where employees can ask questions, provide feedback, and offer support to each other’s goals.
  • Summarize the key points discussed, emphasizing the importance of visualizing goals and the steps needed to achieve them.
  • As part of these team goal setting activities for work, suggest employees to place their vision boards in a visible location that serves as a daily reminder of their goals and the actions required to reach them.

Questions to Ask Participants Immediately After the Activity:

  • How did the process of creating a vision board help you clarify your professional goal?
  • What specific images or words did you choose that are particularly meaningful to you, and why?
  • Which part of the vision board creation process did you find most challenging, and why?
  • What new connections or strategies did you discover while arranging the elements on your vision board?
  • What challenges do you foresee in achieving the milestones represented on your vision board, and how do you plan to address them?
  • Did creating the vision board reveal any gaps in your current approach to goal setting? If so, what are they?

Key Takeaways:

By creating vision boards, employees gain a clear visual representation of their professional goals and the steps needed to achieve them. This is one of the visualization exercises for goal setting that enhances clarity, reveals new strategies, and fosters a supportive environment through group sharing and feedback. This method keeps employees motivated and aligned with organizational objectives.

8. “Work Bingo” Training Activity:

The "Work Bingo'' training activity is one of the games about goal setting that is played on-the-job. It is designed to motivate employees to accomplish specific work-related tasks and goals. Each employee is given a bingo card filled with a variety of tasks that are relevant to their daily job functions and the organization’s objectives. The tasks on the bingo card are carefully selected to cover different aspects of the job, encouraging employees to focus on a broad range of activities.

“Work Bingo” Training Activity
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How to Conduct the "Work Bingo" Activity:

  • Prepare bingo cards with a 5x5 grid, filling each square with different work-related tasks or goals relevant to the organization.
  • Ensure all employees are seated comfortably and provide each one with a bingo card and a pen.
  • Review the tasks and goals on the bingo card with the group, ensuring everyone understands what each square entails.
  • Set a specific time frame for completing the bingo cards (e.g., one week).
  • Encourage employees to complete tasks on their bingo cards, marking off each square as they accomplish the goal.
  • Allow employees to share their progress and strategies with each other, fostering a collaborative and supportive environment.
  • Periodically check in with employees to provide encouragement, answer questions, and offer support as needed.
  • Once the time frame is complete, gather the group to discuss their experiences, challenges, and successes in completing their bingo cards.
  • Facilitate a discussion where employees share which tasks were most beneficial and how the activity helped them focus on their goals.
  • Recognize and reward employees who complete their bingo cards or achieve a "bingo" by completing a row, column, or diagonal of tasks.
  • Summarize the key points discussed, emphasizing the benefits of setting and achieving specific work-related goals.

Questions to Ask Participants Immediately After the activity:

  • Which task on your bingo card did you find most challenging to complete, and why?
  • How did you prioritize the tasks on your bingo card to ensure you completed as many as possible?
  • How did completing the tasks on the bingo card help you focus on your goals?
  • Were there any tasks that you initially thought would be easy but turned out to be more difficult? If so, which ones and why?
  • Were there any tasks that you found particularly motivating or rewarding? If so, which ones and why?
  • How did the structure of the bingo card influence your approach to goal setting and task management?
  • Did you develop any new strategies or habits while working on your bingo card that you plan to continue using?
  • What unexpected benefits did you experience from completing the bingo tasks?
  • How did the time frame for completing the bingo card affect your planning and prioritization of tasks?

Key Takeaways:

By completing tasks on their bingo cards, employees learned to focus on specific goals in an engaging way. By completing a variety of tasks, employees learn to prioritize, manage their time effectively, and stay committed to their goals. This exercise also emphasizes the importance of celebrating small victories, which can build momentum towards achieving larger, long-term goals.

5 Goal Setting Questions to Ask

After engaging in the above goal making activities, it's important for organizations to reflect on the goals and insights gained. Collective reflection and discussion on these questions can provide valuable insights. Initial answers can serve as excellent starting points for deeper exploration and alignment within organizations.

5 Goal Setting Questions to Ask
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  1. How do the team’s goals align with our long-term strategic objectives and vision?
  2. What measurable outcomes are we aiming to achieve with these goals?
  3. What resources, support, and capabilities do we need to effectively reach our goals?
  4. What potential challenges or risks could hinder our progress, and how can we mitigate them?
  5. How will we track and measure progress, and what metrics will define success?

As the team delves into this process, new questions may arise. Embrace these questions and continue to document and explore them, allowing for dynamic and evolving goal setting. Remember that the answers can be revisited and revised at any time, and periodic review and reflection are beneficial for continuous alignment for growth.

Conclusion

Goals exert influence on behavior when individuals consciously accept them, especially when provided by supervisors or other stakeholders. Activities for goal setting encourages behavioral change when two requirements are satisfied: the objective must be conscious and specific, and the goal must be relatively demanding (neither too easy nor too difficult). When objectives are clear, teams know what they are aiming to achieve and are more likely to "buy into" a goal if they helped set it up.

Employees' ability to set goals can be significantly enhanced by Edstellar's instructor-led goal setting training. With experienced trainers, Edstellar conducts fun activities to teach goal setting for teams along with a set of activities to achieve a goal that fosters a proactive approach for success. These programs help employees understand and agree on clear, specific, and challenging goals, driving behavioral change and improving overall performance.

By leveraging Edstellar's expertise and tools such as Stellar AI and Skill Matrix, organizations can be provided with end-to-end corporate goal setting activities to ensure their teams are well-equipped to achieve their objectives and contribute to sustained growth.

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