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Many companies are engaged in annual planning and starting to evaluate Q1. While we often set annual goals, or even quarterly goals, we have hard time sticking to them. Can you even remember the resolution you set just three months ago at the beginning of the year??
According to the University of Scranton, 92% of people who set New Year's goals never actually achieve them. So what are the 8% doing differently? Below are three best practices for setting goals that stick.
The S.M.A.R.T framework is excellent tool to make sure your goals are specific.
Once you have set your goals, make them known. Sharing our goals increases the level of accountability and enlists support to help achieve them. If you are running a team, it is critical that everyone knows your goals – not just at the start of the year but at every team meeting. This helps drive alignment and ensures everyone is rowing in the same direction. You can’t communicate your goals enough.
It is important we keep our goals front of mind. The best way to do this is to proactively schedule check-in points. Every month set time aside in your calendar to see how you are doing vs. your goal and ask yourself: What’s coming up? What’s helping you make progress and what’s getting in the way? As a manager, it can be very helpful to set these check-in meetings with your direct reports rather than sporadically checking in to see how things are going. Then everyone knows that to expect and can be prepared.
Remember that goals are not rigid and absolutes; they can change over time or when a higher priority goal becomes evident, your goals may change. This thing to watch here is that you don’t blindly accept all new goals coming your way.
Goals can and should be negotiated when new ones appear. It is unsustainable to simply accept all new goals that come along. Determine what the highest priority goals are and eliminate, postpone or rethink a goal during this time.
Too many leaders believe that goals are set once they are set. Couldn’t be farther from the truth. As a leader, you have an obligation to the company for aligning and agreeing to goals during the annual process. you also have an obligation to your team to balance realistic goal setting with resources available. This balancing act is critical to a healthy organization.
Setting SMART goals, communicating them, and setting up routine check-ins can have a dramatic impact on our ability to achieve the goals we set out to accomplish.