Top 10 Goal Setting Activities for Teams: Boost Productivity

Goal Setting Activities

Doing goal-setting activities as a team can help you bring your visions together, and become more open to new perspectives and ideas. Here we offer a list of some of the best activities your team can do to encourage more productive and creative goal-setting sessions.

At the beginning of the new year, as we and many of you know, teams often get together to discuss their plans for the coming year, including new goals that they want to achieve. This is an important thing to do as a team, since it provides space for reflection while also looking forward – towards new visions for your teams and the horizons that it wants to move towards.

We at Invite Japan just had our own goal-setting meeting, where we talked about different areas of our company and what we hope to learn and become better at. It was refreshing to hear from different team members’ perspectives, and to get a sense of where we all need to come together the most. It also energized us all, and made us excited to our best over the coming year.

So we know not only from our experience with other teams at their goal-setting meetings, but also from personal experience just how important goal-setting as a team can be.

But it’s not always easy to jump into goal-setting. Sometimes it can be easier to start with a goal-setting activity that can help prompt team members’ ideas and get the conversation started.

Goal-setting activities also function as goal setting icebreakers – helping to create a relaxed environment in which everyone feels more comfortable sharing.

On top of that, goal-setting activities add a bit of fun energy and pizzazz to goal-setting sessions which, as we all know, can sometimes need a little shake-up.

That’s why today we are offering this list of goal-setting activities that all teams can do. Most of them require very little preparation or extra materials, so they can easily be slipped into any meeting. But we can guarantee that they all lead to some interesting discussions and brainstorming afterward. 

List of goal setting activities

1. Draw Your Vision 

One of the best reasons for doing goal-setting activities as a team is to inspire your team to envision new goals. And one of the best ways to do that is to utilize different facets of team members’ creativity. 

So instead of simply writing out goals or just discussing them point by point, try having team members draw their visions for the team in the coming year (you can give them a more specific prompt, like “collaboration” or “growth” or just leave team members free to draw whatever goals they like).

 This activity allows the team to fully use their imagination and creative power, while also giving the team a point of reference in the discussions to follow. It’s also a fun way to see how team members think.  

2. Rapid Ideation goal setting 

Rapid ideation is a method for brainstorming, where participants have to write down as many ideas as they can think of within a given time limit. The objective is to simply write for that length of time, without self-censoring or worrying about how ridiculous any idea seems. In this way, the team is able to generate more ideas. 

This same principle can be applied to goal-setting as well. Again, give the team a general prompt like “goals for the year” or give them a specific topic or theme to create goals for. Then have them write as many goals or objectives that they can think of. Then discuss and combine ideas as a group.

Rapid ideation is one of the best goal-setting activities for coming up with new goals, and engaging team members to think beyond what has been done or said before. 

3. Backward Goal Setting

SMART goals (goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based) and how this method is often used to come up with goals more efficiently. 

But sometimes it can be easier to think of goals that are none of these things, and which are more long-term and related to our hopes and dreams. This type of imagination is good and should be encouraged. 

However, there are some goal-setting activities that can help take these larger dreams and bring them down to a manageable scale. One of these is backward goal-setting. 

In this activity, start with a big, juicy long-term dream. Then work backwards to think about how to achieve it. What would you need to accomplish in the next five years, one year, five months, next week, etc.? What sort of systems would you need to set up? What kind of team structure would you need to have in place?

As a result, your team will be able to break up longer-term visions into manageable pieces, and connect them with SMART goals that are actually achievable in the short-term. 

4. Goal Presentation exercise

One of the major objectives of goal-setting activities is to engage the whole team and gather as many perspectives and voices as possible, which will create more buy-in for whatever goals you end up choosing.

The goal presentation exercise is a great activity for bringing in all team members, and comes with a personal recommendation from our team (we used this activity at our own meeting this year, with great success).

For this activity, give each member of the team a topic that is relevant to your goals (an area of the company or a particular theme that you want to highlight over coming year). Give team members some time to research and make presentations, and then schedule a day where each team member can present what they thought about and some of the objectives that they came up with concerning their topic. 

The presentations will probably end up being different, which will highlight the different personalities on your team and the different visions that they have. The activity will also help create the basis for good and productive discussions going forward. 

5. Defining Success

This is one of the best goal-setting activities for getting your team on the same page in a broader sense. Oftentimes, team members have different ideas about what constitutes success, which can then create mismatches when it comes to setting goals.

For this activity, ask team members “What does success look like?” Give them some time to jot down ideas on their own and then discuss their answers all together (or in smaller groups first if you have a big team). 

The broadness of the question will help generate lots of different perspectives and ideas about success, which will help your team come together and find common ground when deciding on more specific goals. 

6. Mini-games: Zen Counting and Ball in the Air

The following two goal setting games are fun little ice breakers that can be added to your meeting to help switch things up as well as teach team members the importance of collaborating.

In Zen Counting, the objective is to count to ten as a team. Only one team member can say a number at a time, and if two team members speak at the same time, you must start back at the beginning. This activity teaches your team to focus and listen to each other, and it also demonstrates that even some of the simplest goals can be hard to achieve in practice.

With Ball in the Air, you will need a beach ball, balloon, or other soft ball that isn’t too heavy. The objective is to keep the ball in the air for as long as possible, without any team member hitting the ball twice in a row. Play multiple rounds, and after each round, have your team strategize and come up with better methods. Count how many times your team hits the ball each time as a way to measure your success.

7. Post-it Note Goals

This is one of the most useful goal-setting activities for mapping out your goals as a team and seeing where you all align. For this activity, give each team member a stack of post-it-notes and ask them to write down 5~6 goals. Then stick the post-it notes on a white board. Organize the goals on the board by how many times they were stated, and combine goals that were similar. You can then repeat the same process using the goals that are on the board, this time getting more specific and detailed about how to accomplish each goal.  

8. The Ideal Day 

Another great purpose of goal-setting activities is to engage team members to think about their own personal and professional goals, and how they can be connected to the goals of their team. The Ideal Day is one the most effective goal-setting activities to accomplish this.

In this activity, have each member write down their schedule for the “ideal day” – a day in which they could have the time and space to focus only on what matters most to their work. Then have team members share what they wrote down with the rest of the group. 

Through this activity, team members will have a better sense of what each coworker views as important in their work life. This activity can also potentially help sort out tasks that are less important to team members’ real work, and fix workflow issues.

9. What’s Your Legacy

Like the previous activity, “What’s Your Legacy” is meant to connect individual goals to wider group goals. In this case, the individual goals being considered are longer-term. Start this activity by asking team members to think about their legacy on the team – what do they want to have accomplished or changed by the time they leave? Give them time to think on their own, and then have them share with each other (it might be good to start by having team members talk together in pairs). 

The word “legacy” comes with so many different emotions and meanings, so the prompt works well as a way to stir up team members’ thoughts on their futures as part of the team and what they hope to accomplish. This can allow the team to see where everyone is coming from and what they can do to help each other achieve these goals.  

10. One year later 

The last on our list of top goal-setting activities is a simple one. Ask team members to think about one year later, and have them write down everything that they and the team will have hopefully accomplished.

This activity is useful at getting team members to think about what can be done in the space of the year. And while it might be strange to think about the end of the year right when it’s beginning, it’s a good reminder that time flies, and that thinking concretely about what you want to achieve before the end of the year as soon as possible can put you on a better track to achieving it. 


In the journey of team development, goal setting activities for adults stand as pivotal milestones that shape the team’s vision and unity. These activities, ranging from Draw Your Vision to Defining Success, serve as catalysts that spark creativity and collaboration. They not only set the stage for productive discussions but also infuse a fun goal setting activity for adults into often monotonous planning sessions.

So, what’s the next step? Team leaders and members alike should integrate these goal-setting activities into their annual planning or team-building events. Whether it’s a rapid ideation session to brainstorm new objectives or a more introspective goal setting activity like “What’s Your Legacy,” the impact is profound. These activities serve as the building blocks that align individual aspirations with collective team goals, setting the stage for a year of measurable achievements and growth.

Don’t just set goals; make it an engaging and transformative experience. Your team’s future success starts with the goals you set today.

Frequently Ask Questions About Goal Setting Activity

What is goal setting activities?

Goal setting activities are structured exercises aimed at employee engagement and employee retention. They help teams identify objectives, align Team Strengths, and create actionable plans, offering a Competitive Advantage in performance and productivity.

What are the 5 R’s of goal setting?

The 5 R’s of goal setting are Relevant, Realistic, Responsible, Resourced, and Reviewed. These principles guide teams in setting goals that align with their Team Strengths and provide a Competitive Advantage.

How do you make goal setting fun at work?

To make goal setting fun at work, incorporate interactive exercises that boost employee engagement. Games, brainstorming sessions, and creative challenges can turn a routine task into an engaging experience, enhancing employee retention.

Can these activities be adapted for remote teams?

Yes, many goal-setting activities can be adapted for remote teams to maintain employee engagement. Virtual meetings and collaboration tools can replicate the in-person experience, leveraging Team Strengths across distances.

How to set goals with team at work?

To set goals with a team at work, start by identifying Team Strengths and areas for improvement. Use SMART criteria and involve team members in the decision-making process for better employee engagement and Competitive Advantage.

Related Articles