Resolutions are different from goals. Resolutions come from self-reflecting on the past year and are generally vague. They’re a new mindset or outlook, but goals are specific, measurable, and time-sensitive. To set goals, you need a vision and to map out a way to get there. And as a business leader, you have to rally your employees, assign tasks and responsibilities, and hold everyone accountable for getting there. Here’s how you can empower your team to set goals for the New Year—not resolutions.
Label the big picture
Work with your team as individuals to identify their vision, mission, and values for both their professional and personal lives. Find out what matters the most to them. Ask them where they see for themselves right now and in the future. What’s their mission, their sense of purpose? Ask them why they get out of bed in the morning and what they hope to contribute to the company or to the greater community.
Establish the SMART goals
SMART is an acronym to help you develop goals that you can pursue more effectively. S stands for ‘specific’—goals that are precise and quantifiable. M stands for ‘measurable,’ like ‘increasing your output by 10%’ so you know for sure whether you’ve reached your goals and how much progress you’ve made. Next, you have to make your goals ‘attainable,’ that they’re realistic and possible. To make sure your goals are ‘results oriented,’ they have to measure the outcome of your efforts, not something more subjective, like a character trait or soft skill. And finally, ‘T’ stands for ‘time,’ meaning that you set a reasonable deadline to achieve your goals.
Map out the process
Divvy up your employee’s goals into short-term—those in the 1 to 3 year range—and long-term goals—the 3 to 5 year range. Then try to anticipate some of the obstacles and challenges that might lie ahead of them. Map out a plan to overcome them, what they can do to achieve the goals, and when.
Put them in writing
Keep those goals in a safe place. Encourage your employees to tell others, such as families, friends, and coworkers about their goals, so that they have help and support and cooperation from other stakeholders. Having other people who can check in on their progress will help them stay focused and disciplined.
Figure out the accountability process
As you set goals, establish a plan of when to check-in, revisit the goals, and check progress. You can always reevaluate the goals, change the measurable quantity, or adjust the deadline to make it more realistic. Encourage them to keep an open mind and not to give up when they encounter a setback or make a mistake. The more supportive you are and the more confident they feel, the more likely they are to achieve their goals.
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