How to Use Targets to Motivate People & Achieve Highly

Use Targets to Motivate People

Use Targets to Motivate People – comes from the Free Guide – ‘Are you frustrated by training that creates short term interest but not long term change?.

When I sold water filters door-to-door as a part-time job at College, my boss told me to ‘Go and sell more’.  That evening, I was very pleased because I’d sold one. However, he wasn’t happy; he had expected me to sell another 12!

Professor Edwin Locke, an American psychologist, researched human actions in specific situations. He is famous for the ‘Goal Setting Theory’. He discovered that the more specific and difficult the goal, the more we will strive to achieve it. By contrast, if we are asked to simply ‘sell more’, we are almost lost on what to do.

This research can be used to help Learners to achieve more with their learning. By encouraging the Learner to set themselves specific and tough goals, they will strive to achieve them. For example:

Effective Presentation

By the end of March, present to a group without using PowerPoint but still engage the audience. Ask the audience afterwards for feedback on engagement.

Negotiation Skills

Prepare thoroughly for the next important negotiation and roleplay the negotiation with a colleague before meeting with the client.

People Management

In Q4, organise 360-degree feedback for you and your team, and implement one change across the team as a result.


Encourage Learners to identify a target to achieve with their learning, and then celebrate their success when they achieve it. Making it specific will really help to improve the clarity of the goal.

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