If you're a working professional, goal setting shouldn't be new for you. In fact, we suspect many of the professionals reading this, have already done or will be doing their goals for the year. Goals play a role of motivation and clarity. They keep us moving forward with an end-state of success in mind. They're often comprised of two components: professional and personal development goals. And both matter to your success. Let's break them down!
Whether you're working in a corporate setting, small business or self-employed, professional goals are intended to provide a goal post of specific measurements that will define and aid in your success. In addition to professional goals, development goals (personal goals designed to enhance your skills/capabilities) are equally as important to set, track and communicate throughout the performance year. They showcase the dedication to yourself to improve, as well as signal to your boss/employer that you are willing to give some level of discretionary effort to grow. So how do you create these goals?
Professional Goals: There are many frameworks out there but our favorite, tried-and-true approach are SMART goals: Specific/Measurable/Achievable/Relevant/Time-bound. When you're setting professional goals, ensure that you are setting goals that specifically capture what you're aiming to achieve and are in someway quantifiably measurable. For example, saying something like 'achieve great client service' may sound great, but how do you know you're actually doing that? This goals lacks specificity and measurement. Now, let's insert the SMART methodology to give this goal greater meaning: 'Achieve a client satisfaction result of 9.9 by the end of the year.' You'll see we added in specificity and measurement and time-bound it with an expected milestone. You can check for achievability and relevancy by looking at how you have historically trended against the goal and ask yourself if this goal is relevant to the work that you do.
Personal Development Goals: Clear personal development goals anchor you to your value proposition. This is an important part of the goal setting process not only commit to your own development, but to also showcase to your boss/employer how you will drive value to the organization. Your personal development goals should be focused on skill/competencies that you are looking to develop that will enable you to drive the professional goals you have outlined for the performance year. In addition, leverage the SMART methodology. These goals should also be specific and measurable with a timestamp on them.
When we worked in corporate America, we were asked to set professional and personal development goals. At times, all of this felt like a check-the-box exercise of some corporate task list. However, as we gained more experience, we learned that they were valuable tools to showcase our impact in the workplace.
In the coming weeks we're going to teach you how to share these goals with your boss and how to hold yourself accountable throughout the performance year in more meaningful and impactful ways. This isn't about updating a spreadsheet with your outcomes and hoping someone notices. Or filling out your company's performance management tracking system with your bulleted list of achievements. It's all about how you talk about them with others that gives a greater sense of what and how you can deliver results. Stay tuned as we focus on this very important skill this month!
Laura & Jaclyn