In the world of association management, setting goals is one of the most effective ways to motivate and engage members while also creating fulfillment and alignment. In Association management, setting and achieving goals is exclusively a team effort therefore, goal setting becomes a collaborative act. This guide aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of collaborative goal setting and how it can generate better results for your association.


The first step in the collaborative goal setting process is identifying the right individuals to participate. To set effective collaborative goals, including individuals with different roles and perspectives in your association is imperative. This range of knowledge and experience provides more diverse perspectives and leads to greater goal setting.


Once you have identified your group, you need to facilitate open and transparent communication. The goal here is to create an atmosphere where all members feel comfortable expressing their ideas, concerns, and strategies. This ensures everyone is part of the goal setting process and provides a wide range of knowledge and experience to the goal setting process that would be unavailable if the goals were being set individually. It is vital the team develops a vision and identifies shared goals and objectives, all important to the goal setting process. To facilitate communication, you will need to have the right channel. Whether this be regular in person meetings, Teams meeting for those dispersed geographically, calls or group chats. Having a communication channel where members can effectively communicate is the main objective.


Once you have established channels of communication, you can use your shared vision, goals, and objectives to create smaller measurable targets. This is most effectively done through the process of SMART goals. To ensure your goals are SMART, they must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. To make sure your goals are in line with this principle, it is recommended you ask yourself the following questions in relation to each principle.


  • Specific – What are you trying to achieve? What are the steps that need to be taken to reach the goal?
  • Measurable – What data will you use to determine whether you have met the goal or not?
  • Achievable – Do you have the right skills and resources to accomplish this goal?
  • Relevant – Does this goal align with your Association?
  • Time-Bound – When is the deadline for accomplishing this goal?


By using a collaborative framework, you can make sure all team members use their varied perspectives to follow the SMART rules and set goals that are in the best interests of your association.


Once your goals are defined, it is crucial to develop an action plan that outlines the tasks, responsibilities, and timelines for each member. It’s important every task and step that needs to be carried out are well known as well as identifying who oversees conducting each task.


Any resources necessary should also be well known and provided to the member responsible. A great way to enact your action plan is simply creating a list of each step that needs to be completed with the name of the individual responsible next to the step. Including a completion date next to the task also ensures everyone is aware of their deadline. Additionally, regularly reviewing the action plan will keep the goals and task fresh in everyone’s mind and make sure all tasks are completed on time.


In closing, collaborative goal setting is an important part of any association, it motivates, engages, and aligns members. To set goals collaboratively, you need to select the right team, facilitate communication, set SMART goals and an action plan. The combination of these steps will ensure your association reaches its goals!