Monday, 5 January 2015

Goal Setting and New Year’s Resolutions - 6 of one Half Dozen of the other

It’s that time of the year again where we feel obligated to create New Year’s resolutions which we may or may not keep.

While in our personal live we have these resolutions, in our professional lives we call them goals or maybe even operational targets. Call them whatever you want your inability to achieve them will look the same if you don’t have some method to your madness. Here are some tips I can offer to help, in fact they could apply to your resolutions as well.

Start Simple
If I have said it once I have probably said it a thousand times, “keep it simple”. While a large process overhaul or implementation may look great on a goals worksheet for your department you really need to break it down into components which will have iterative success which can be realized. In your operational day to day work life you might even describe these as “agile”.

Validate your success
With small goals you will be able to validate your successes far easier than in large ones. There could be a monthly checkpoint to see “how we are doing”. Whatever you choose for a timeframe for validation ensure that there is a consistent one which will show some results. In some cases we may have not achieved anything for the month; however the inability to achieve is a metric on its own and should be noted. The opportune thing about small goals is that if we are not on target we can make course corrections early on before we hit the proverbial iceberg like a titanic.

Communicate
Something that might have previously been out of our wheelhouse so to speak is the ability to communicate what we are doing and what is going well and in some cases not so well. Many teams may naturally feel the need to keep the details of what is going on close to them so that they will not lose face. This is a habit we really need to get away from. We are working towards achieving business outcomes (or should be) and so we should leverage the input and support of a wider community to be able to do that. Soliciting feedback and being transparent should be a strength rather than a weakness.

Network with Others
You may not have all the answers surprisingly enough. Networking with those that have broken the trail before you can help you to avoid potential pitfalls. In some cases you may not be able to share information as it may be a security or proprietary concern, but where you can learn from others. I also find that sharing what I have learned with others allows me to see other issues I have been working on to gain more clarity.

Learn from Mistakes
As you move along it is likely that you will have some obstacles. This is ok as long as we are able to learn from them. In some cases we may even experience some setbacks which will impact our ability to achieve the goals which were laid out at the start of the year. DO NOT GIVE UP. If you have been communicating and tracking your work in small goals the only real game changers should be something that may have a broader reach on your business as well and discussing with them these challenges will keep you on pace with your partners.

These are a couple of tips that I have provided to ensure that your state at the end of the year isn’t 10 pounds heavier and smoking 2 packs a day.

Feel free to share with me your tips on goal setting for a successful year.


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