The enterprise value specialists at Ceibass recognize that not every lawn and landscape management team member or every employee is going to get excited about setting stretch goals, fostering a growth mindset, bridging gaps, improving performance, being accountable and evolving new practices as companies look to enhance value and their bottom line.

“It’s understandable that goal setting and continuous improvement practices can sometimes create anxiety and stress among employees, especially when the gap between current performance and desired outcomes seems large,” said Tom Fochtman, Ceibass CEO. “However, with thoughtful leadership and supportive practices, company owners can help their teams navigate these challenges positively.”

Here are some strategies to help remedy anxiety and stress related to goal-setting and improving performance:

1. Communicate Clearly and Frequently

Transparent Communication: Clearly explain the reasons behind setting specific goals and how they align with the company’s vision and mission. Understanding the “why” can help reduce anxiety and foster a sense of purpose.

Regular Updates: Keep employees informed about progress towards goals. Regular updates can help employees see that progress is being made, reducing feelings of uncertainty.

2. Involve Employees in Goal-Setting

Collaborative Goal-Setting: Involve employees in the goal-setting process. When employees have a say in setting goals, they are more likely to feel ownership and less threatened by them.

Set Realistic and Achievable Goals: Ensure that the goals set are realistic and achievable. Break larger goals into smaller, more manageable tasks to make the process less overwhelming.

3. Provide Training and Resources

Skill Development: Offer training and development programs to help employees acquire the skills needed to achieve their goals. Providing the necessary tools and resources can boost confidence and reduce stress.

Mentorship and Support: Pair employees with mentors or coaches who can provide guidance and support. Having a go-to person for advice can alleviate anxiety.

4. Foster a Supportive Culture

Encourage Open Dialogue: Create a culture where employees feel safe to express their concerns and ask questions. Open dialogue can help identify issues early and provide a platform for mutual support.

Positive Reinforcement: Recognize and celebrate small achievements along the way. Positive reinforcement can boost morale and motivate employees to keep progressing.

5. Focus on Incremental Progress

Small Wins: Emphasize the importance of incremental progress rather than only focusing on the end goal. Celebrate small wins and improvements to show that progress is being made.

Iterative Approach: Use an iterative approach where goals and strategies are continually assessed and refined. This reduces pressure and allows for continuous improvement.

6. Address Stress and Anxiety Directly

Workshops on Stress Management: Offer workshops or training on stress management techniques, such as mindfulness, meditation, and time management.

Provide Mental Health Resources: Ensure that employees have access to mental health resources, such as counseling or employee assistance programs.

7. Empower Employees

Autonomy and Control: Give employees a sense of control over their work. Allow them to take ownership of their tasks and make decisions about how to achieve their goals.

Encourage Innovation: Encourage employees to come up with innovative solutions to challenges. This can increase engagement and reduce feelings of helplessness.

8. Lead by Example

Model Positive Behavior: As a leader, model the behavior you want to see in your employees. Show resilience, adaptability, and a positive attitude towards achieving goals.

Be Approachable: Make yourself available to discuss concerns and provide support. An approachable leader can make a significant difference in reducing employee anxiety.

9. Reframe Challenges as Opportunities

Growth Mindset: Encourage a growth mindset where challenges are seen as opportunities for learning and development rather than threats.

Focus on Learning: Emphasize that the journey towards achieving goals is as important as the destination. Encourage a focus on learning and personal development.


“Setting clear goals and managing the potential stress and anxiety that can come with it ensures a positive and motivated work force. Take good care of your team,” added Tom. “The strategies above help achieve human and business objectives, which improve the value of the company and will result in a more profitable and successful exit.”