Reviewing & Adjusting Goals In Times of Uncertainty

Alma Rosina
Published on 
Apr 27, 2023
With everything that's going on in the world, it's natural to feel like your goals and plans might need to be put on hold. But just because things are uncertain, doesn't mean you have to stop moving forward. Here's everything you need to know about reviewing and adjusting goals in times of uncertainity.

There is no doubt that these are challenging times for companies with layoffs, economic downturns, and uncertainty. Budgets are being slashed, and anything that doesn't seem necessary is getting cut off. 

But the most challenging times call for proactiveness and taking a real hard look at what you're focusing on, and it's crucial to identify the changes you need to make.

And for this, one critical action plan is thinking about goals, especially reviewing and resetting them. But before that, let's look at why it's essential to take a step back and be prepared for uncertainty rather than be sorry!

Why should you prepare for uncertainty?

The longest recession or the great recession lasted 18 months (Dec 2007 - Jun 2008). By the end of the year, the economy went into the worst recessions since world war II. With home prices plummeting and foreclosures rising; the department of labor estimated around 8.7 billion jobs were lost. Therefore, being prepared for uncertainty in an organization is vital than ever!

Here are a few reasons why:

For one, it is impossible to predict the future and know exactly what will happen. This means that there is always the potential for something to go wrong, no matter how well you plan or prepare. 

Additionally, it can help you be more resilient in the face of adversity and help you recover more quickly from setbacks. 

Finally, preparing for uncertainty can help you create a more adaptive organization that can respond to changing conditions better. Ultimately, it is an integral part of creating a successful and resilient organization.

Why are goals important in times of uncertainty?

Uncertainty can be stressful and overwhelming, but if you have specific goals to work towards, it can help you stay on track and progress, giving you a sense of purpose while keeping you motivated.

Goals can also help you stay optimistic during times of uncertainty. Getting caught up in negative thinking when things are uncertain is inevitable, however, if you have goals to keep you moving forward, it can be a great way to stay positive. 

Here are a few other things that goals can help you with:

Goals bring clarity

Without goals, we can quickly become sidetracked and lose sight of what is important. Goals clarify what we are doing and why we are doing it. They help us stay focused on what is important and keep us moving forward. 

Goals bring alignment 

Only fewer than one-third of employees have a clear understanding of their connection with corporate priorities.That’s alarming isn’t it? This happens because there’s no cross-company collaboration and that’s not the only de-railer, some companies don’t align individual goals to organizations goals.  

When the entire company understands what it is striving for, it can optimize efforts in the same direction with the collective purpose for desired business outcomes. This doesn't mean that everyone needs to know every company goal, but rather that there should be shared understanding at different levels.

For example, the CEO might aim to increase market share, while individual teams might have specific goals related to that, such as increasing sales by 10% in a specific market. The company can work together to achieve its overall objective by aligning these goals.

Goals bring about collaboration

As goals are shared across functions, it's a great way to unite people and get them working towards a common purpose. Whether it's a personal goal or a professional one, shared goals can help build teamwork and collaboration. This can be a great way to build morale, strive to be a great motivator, and get people working together towards something positive. 

Goals bring transparency

Public visibility of goals can increase transparency, thereby increasing trust within teams. It brings clarity to the team's objectives and expectations. Furthermore, it increases motivation and engagement by providing a sense of ownership and responsibility. That's why you need tools like Mesh to help you do this seamlessly. Every goal creator can decide if they want their goals to be private or public while creating them. 

The entire organization can view public goals, while private goals can only be viewed by the owner, their manager, and anyone directly upward in the hierarchy chain. 

What are the common types of agile goal-setting frameworks that most organizations use?

There are a variety of agile goal-setting frameworks that organizations can use, depending on their needs. Some common types of agile goal-setting frameworks include OKRs, BUP(Bottom-up Priorities), SMART goals, and OGSM. Each of these frameworks has its own unique approach to goal setting and project management, so it's essential to choose the one that best fits your organization's needs.

OKRs: Objectives and Key Results usually refer to the business strategy tool/framework used to measure and track progress towards specific objectives.

BUP: The BUP method is a prioritization technique that can be used when you have many potential projects or goals and need to prioritize them.

It involves listing all potential projects or goals first, then assigning a score to each based on how important it is to the organization. The projects or goals are then ranked based on their score, with the highest-scoring project being the most important.

SMART Goals: SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.

1. Specific: Keep your goals specific to identify what exactly needs to be done. 

2. Measurable: The goal must be measurable to track your progress.

3. Achievable: You'd be chasing the wrong rabbit without achievable goals. 

4. Realistic: Unrealistic goals are unattainable. Focus on what you can achieve at a specific timespan. 

5. Timely: If your goals aren't timely, they become irrelevant after a point. So it's essential to align your goals at the right time.


The Objectives, Goals, Strategies, and Measures (OGSM) framework is a business management tool that organizations can use to define and track progress towards their objectives. Businesses of all sizes and industries can use the OGSM framework. 

Regardless of what goal-setting framework you follow, ensure the ball doesn't get dropped on continuous conversations, feedback & praise; manager 1:1s even in times of crisis. These are more critical than ever for engaging teams and driving high performance. 

How to adjust goals during uncertain times?

Goals aren't set in stone; they are flexible and can be adjusted at any point in time. During periods of uncertainty, it may be necessary to revisit and readjust them to ensure they are still relevant and achievable. Here are a few tips on how to do this:

1. Keep your goals realistic. If the current situation makes it difficult to achieve a specific goal, consider modifying the goal or breaking it down into smaller, more achievable steps.

2. Be flexible with your timeline. Once again, if circumstances have changed and made it difficult to meet a deadline, consider extending the timeline or reassessing the goal.

3. Communicate with your team. If you are part of a team working towards a common goal, keep open communication to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

4. Be prepared to change course. During periods of uncertainty, it is crucial to be adaptable and willing to change course if necessary.

5. Keep your eye on the prize. It can be easy to get discouraged during this time, but it is essential to remember why you set the goal in the first place and keep working towards it.

6. Take it one day at a time: Everyone gets overwhelmed and sidetracked, and that's okay. Just focus on what you can do today, and don't try to accomplish everything all at once.

Following these tips will help you adjust goals during uncertain times and ensure that you can still achieve them. Remember to be flexible, communicate with your team, and take it slow. With a little bit of adaptability, you can still reach your goals even during challenging times.

Mesh tips for reviewing and determining if you need to reset goals

It's never too late to review and reset your goals. Whether you're just starting out or you've been working towards your goals for a while, it's always a good idea to take a step back and assess where you are and where you want to be. 

Ask yourself these questions and follow these tips to help you retrospect your goals and take proper action steps:

1. Review learnings so far

  • What has gone well for us?
  • What spells danger/red flag?
  • What did we miss factoring in when we set the goal?
  • What is truly important to us/imperative that we go after it no matter what?
  • What budgets need to be relooked at?

2. Refocus the lens

  • Look at the short-term goals (goals you have control over) while keeping an eye on the big picture/roadmap. 
  • Watch for your long-term goals (goals you want to achieve but aren't feasible at the moment, things that you could pick up in the long run)
  • What does success look like? (what can you do to achieve goals in the short term?)

3. Reset the goals 

  • Keep goals sharp and key results & target clear
  • Publicly commit to them and share the learnings that led to these goals

4. Revisit the goals

  • Look back at goals you dropped/eased up on at the right time
  • Decide if they still make sense to pursue them now. 

Final Thoughts

Adjusting goals is a necessary part of the goal-setting process because it allows you to account for changes in your circumstances or your ability to achieve the goal. Remember, when reviewing goals, it is essential to consider whether the goal is still relevant and achievable to make adjustments accordingly. The bottom line is that recessions aren't uncommon, so there will always be a strong rebound. It becomes all the more important to review and readjust goals regularly! Check out Mesh to learn how you can do this more efficiently!

About the Author

Alma is a highly regarded contributor to our guides, demonstrating a sincere commitment to sharing insights and expertise gleaned from prominent leaders in the field of cultivating high performance. In her role as an author, Alma is devoted to enriching comprehension of performance management principles, providing readers with the essential guidance to navigate the dynamic landscape of today's business environment.
Alma Rosina
Content Marketer

Career Pathing 101: What It Is and Why It Matters

Read more

25 Must-Ask Employee Engagement Survey Questions

Read more

Upward feedback: How to ask for and act on it

Read more

Like what you see?

Consider joining our email community of 7,000+ HR professionals!
Be the first to hear about our educational content sprinkled with a little bit of entertainment. We NEVER pitch slap, and we DON’T spam. 


This is some text inside of a div block.
Published on 
This is some text inside of a div block.
This is some text inside of a div block.

About Author

This is some text inside of a div block.
This is some text inside of a div block.
This is some text inside of a div block.

Introducing GenAI for Performance Management (Coming Soon)

We are building AI models that can help save your organization save a tonne of time and make performance enablement a lot easier.