Here’s the thing about goals for me. Ask almost anyone if they have goals and the answer will be a definitive “Yes.” Ask them to show them to you, and you’re very likely to get a blank stare. Why?
As humans, we’re uniquely designed to have goals, because we’re the only species (at least that we know about) that can imagine its future. Unlike animals, we’re able to think past our next meal, our next walk or the next time we’ll be let out (this is the extent of the future thinking our dogs demonstrate, for example). Having the ability to develop and have goals, though, is not the same as demonstrating the discipline to actually set and achieve goals. That takes work, and unfortunately many of us either don’t know how, or aren’t willing, to do the necessary work.
As leaders, we have an opportunity, make that an obligation, to encourage everyone with whom we interact (and our team members for sure) to become goal setters and goal achievers. My bet is that there is no one worth hiring into your company, and maintaining a spot on your team, who isn’t capable of achieving more than they could when they were hired and came aboard. Since these folks already have both the desire and capability to achieve more, all we need to do is provide a framework that encourages them to transform the desire into the actions that will produce the result. Then, we challenge and teach them how to complete the framework (it’s easy) while providing the opportunities and coaching necessary for them to reach and realize its achievement.
Creating a Goal-Setting & Achievement Framework
Here are a few tips that have helped us develop a working, successful framework for goal-setting and achievement that you might find helpful:
- Leader Modeling – You should be the Pied Piper of Goal-Setting, meaning you must walk the talk before others will walk the walk with you. If you aren’t consistently challenging yourself with powerful goals that are constructed like I’ve described below (or similarly – this isn’t the only way, just a way I know works), you might consider doing so, before you ask it from your team.
- Document – A goal that isn’t written down is a dream. A goal that is written down is an assignment.
- Format – Goal statements that start with the words “I will” and follow with a measurable desired outcome stand the best chance of getting accomplished.
- By When – Even the most well formatted goal stands a good chance of not being accomplished if it does not include a By When date, meaning that’s the date By When it will be accomplished. It’s best if the date is specific, for example by July 1, 2018. Goals with open-ended goals, like I will do “x” in 2018 are easy to keep kicking down the road, and before you know it, it’s December and no action has been taken.
- With What Help – A challenging goal isn’t accomplished in a vacuum, solely by the person who created it. Goals that will require an additional resource to be accomplished (money, mentoring, classwork, etc.) should have that resource(s) identified in the goal framework.
Example – “I will complete the draft for my first book, titled YSIMBB, and have it read / edited by Robin and Karen, before July 1, 2018”
While there’s a lot more that goes into making your goal-setting framework as dynamic and impactful as possible (more on that later), these five steps should go a long way to helping you and those on your team improve their goal-setting habits and translate into new, exciting challenges and accomplishments that help your team, and your company, become more capable, confident and successful.
Ready, Set, Goal!
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