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Goal Alignment

What is Goal Alignment and Why is it Important?

Goal alignment is a process in which the goals of employees support the goals of the organization. This process is also known as “cascading goals,” in which the goals of leadership set the goals for the rest of the organization. In the context of the university, cascading goals occur as follows:

    Mission and Vision  

flowing down to ...

    Strategic Plan  

flowing down to ...

    President’s goals (approved by the board of curators)  

flowing down to ...

    Vice Presidents’ goals  

flowing down to ...

    Division goals  

flowing down to ...

    Department goals  

flowing down to ...

    Manager goals  

flowing down to ...

    Employee goals  


When goals are aligned at each level of the university, it has two main benefits: (1) it helps ensure that the activities that employees engage in contribute directly to the mission and vision of the university, and (2) it helps motivate employees at all levels by demonstrating how their work connects to the mission and vision.

When Does Goal Alignment Occur?

Goal-setting occurs on an annual basis each fiscal year. The specific goal-setting process of each department may differ, but the general timeline is:

July‐August: Information gathering occurs on what goals were accomplished the past fiscal year, which goals need to continue, and what new goals need to be added. All employee goals are drafted at this time

September: The president determines his or her goals based on this information and finalizes goals with the University of Missouri Board of Curators

November‐January: Mid‐year check‐ins of goal progress are conducted, and goals are adjusted if necessary

March‐June: The annual performance appraisal process begins; goal results are evaluated for certain employees

How are Goals Created and Tracked?

Ultimately, goals are informed by the president’s goals and created jointly by employees and managers each year. The recommended format for goals is to make them SMART: Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time‐bound. To learn more about creating and tracking SMART goals, refer to Goal Setting Tips (PDF, 100KB).

Reviewed 2019-12-18