Leaders ensure that trust, communication, expectations, job descriptions and goals are in place, and working within the organization. These ingredients are all tied together; one continuous process, not single events. Leaders do not dictate these ingredients, they model them by trusting, communicating openly, developing effective expectations, and asking for job descriptions.
Why set goals? Most employees prefer the satisfaction of achieving something. Working without a “target” would be like watching sports without expecting either team to score. Goals are essential for growth for without them our organizations will stagnate. When we deal in generalities, we rarely succeed, but when we deal in specifics, we rarely fail. High performance people think future tense is now; it already exists.
In my experience the following existed in most organizations, which were not helpful for success:
-No goals were set, at any level
-Too many goals were set (the mind cannot handle, effectively, more than 9 goals)
-Goals were set with little or no input from the individual(s) who had to attain them
-Goals were set from the bottom of the organization up
-Goals were set that could not be determined whether or not they were accomplished. In other words they were written in generalities (e.g., “work on completing the xyz project”)
Wayne Dyer in his book, Your Sacred Self, cautions against setting goals because he sees them as being etched in stone. Not true. Goals must remain flexible so that they are adaptable to changes in our environment. This thought makes the goal setting process dynamic not static. Goals should not be viewed as a ball and chain. Think of them as guides and checkpoints.
Here are some ideas to consider about goal writing before you start putting pen to paper:
1 Visualize the big picture of what you want it to look like.
2 Write consistent goals with similar language, common or related results, and goals that cooperate with each other (not in conflict).
3 Use constructive images; look at the result in positive terms.
4 Use clear images; quantity, objective, how big, how little. Clarify what you want.
5 See accomplishment and result, now! You get what you can see.
6 Build in accountability for goal achievement. Someone has to be accountable for results.
7 Visualize as if it’s already happened, successfully.
Now you are ready to begin the goal writing process. It’s important to brainstorm a list of potential goal areas, and then eliminate all but the most important areas. The final list should not contain more than five to nine goals. Why? That’s the most we can manage at any time. In order for goal setting to be done in a meaningful way they should be specific (what, how, when), measurable (%, #, time), attainable (within reach), relevant (to company, department, job), and trackable (progress can be measured).
Remember, goals are not meant to defeat us but meant to encourage us. Start simply and build on your successes. See the goal; picture it in your mind and then use the process to make it real. “As is your sort of mind, so is your sort of search; you’ll find what you desire” (Robert Browning)