One of the most critical yet sensible things you can do as an employee is to set goals. Michael Hyatt, Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers says, “Despite the fact that numerous studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between goal-setting and success few people seem to ever get around to it.…there is tremendous power in simply identifying what you want and focusing some thought on the outcome.”
Agreed! There’s power in simply writing down your goals. In fact, many of us do quite well at this. However for those of us doing a good job getting our goals on paper, many still do a lousy job taking pre-meditated steps to accomplish them – which we believe translates into failed goals.
At PMA, we believe you must have a plan to meet those well-meaning goals. How many failed New Year’s resolutions have you heard about from individuals? My guess is many of those high hopes made each New Year are dashed because the goal setters didn’t have a strategy. Again, it’s a very good thing to have your goals captured. Yet, goals are just words if you don’t have a design for accomplishing them. Imagine the power of having measurable, attainable, incremental and time-bound approaches for each goal you set.
Queue the 90-Day Plan!
Whether you are a seasoned executive or a new professional, having strategies to accomplish each of your goals is the difference between empty words and actually accomplishing the important goals you (and possibly your supervisor) have set for yourself.
Start by asking the question “what do I want or need to accomplish THIS YEAR?” PMA suggests including both personal and organizational goals in your planning. The next step is what we believe to be the difference between setting and actually meeting your goals.
List a handful of action items that can be completed in the next 90 days that will help you accomplish your goals for the year. To be clear, goals are important because they help you identify what’s important and want you want (or need) to accomplish – and thus providing you accountability. Listing incremental strategies to help you accomplish each goal is the roadmap to help you get there.
Your roadmap must be specific and measurable. Below are six recommendations by PMA to help reach your goals. Included are comments by Michael Hyatt about those tactics.
- Keep your tactics to a few items – “Productivity studies show that you really can’t focus on more than 5-7 items at any one time. Don’t try to impress your supervisor or yourself with a long list of objectives. Also, please don’t include sections with several objectives under each section. This is a recipe for losing focus and accomplishing very little. Instead, focus on a handful of objectives that you can almost repeat from memory.”
- Have action-oriented tactics – “In order for you to act on your objective, it must be actionable. Notice that each objective begins with a verb (e.g., ‘Achieve,’ ‘Finalize,’ ‘Complete,’ etc.).”
- Your tactics should be measurable – “You should be able to sit down with your supervisor in 90 days and determine whether or not you accomplished the objective. Remember: you can’t manage what you don’t measure.”
- Make sure the tactics are attainable – “Don’t attempt to do more than you can realistically accomplish in 90 days.”
- Have a set time for your tactics – “Since these are 90-day objectives, you should begin by asking yourself the question, ‘what do I want to accomplish by… ’ or whatever the time horizon is.”
- Prioritize your tactics – “Your most important objective should go at the top of the list. Your second most important objective should go next and so on.”