Monday, January 7, 2013

Goals and the New Year

Happy New Year to each of you. Like most of you I enjoyed the holidays (extended this year due to both Christmas and New Year falling on a Tuesday) and have come back to work energized and rejuvenated. I always like to begin the New Year by setting my goals for the upcoming year. In fact, within the Southwestern Company we all set written goals annually.

The company deems setting approved written goals important enough that annual bonuses are tied to the goals attainment. Have you set your goals for your cookbook yet? Goals can take many formats and be set about a variety of tasks. I would like to share the approach we take to goals for your consideration.

Goals should be written. If they aren't written down they are only dreams.

  • Goals should be written very Specifically.
  • Goals should be able to be Measured.
  • Goals should state who is Accountable.
  • Goals should be Realistic.
  • Goals should always contain a Timeline.

Here are a few challenge questions I use in evaluating my goals, as well as the goals of others who might work directly with me. When I read a goal and it has some general term within it that I don't know how to measure I immediately ask that it be re-written. For example, a goal that use the term "increase" without a specific percentage for the increase is too general.

I always ask "how do we measure this goal?" If the answer is not clear or there is ambiguity it has to be re-written.

The accountable question is important because often a goal affects a department or staff. Therefore, there should also be agreement on how the goal will be managed along the way and who will be accountable for various tasks within the total goal.

The realistic challenge goes to human nature. Naturally we all want to set high goals but realistically will there be follow through if there isn't a high belief factor in the beginning? It is too easy to abandon the goal early in the year if the goal isn't realistic.

I love using a timeline element because it allows me to discuss the goals and keep them in the forefront all year long. I find that if goals are discussed regularly and progress evaluated along the way there is a better chance of success.

I would love to hear what your goals are and what techniques work for you.

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