Goal Setting Equals Happiness?

Much has been written about people wanting more from their job (goal setting and achievement). Happiness equates to (not surprisingly) bonuses, raises, promotions and recognition. These goals are universal, and young workers put pressure on themselves to achieve them. But without a clear understanding of what your organization is expecting of you, that happiness is much harder to achieve.

These expectations, coming in the form of annual goals or objectives, are essential to career building.  Furthermore, when you align your performance to the expectations of the organization, then you will be amazed at the degree to which you separate yourself from others. That means more opportunity and more money.

However, goal setting is often moved to the bottom of the list due to the everyday demands of your position. It’s completely normal. Still, it’s on you to overcome those demands and get a meeting with your superiors. Setting clear goals keeps your hard work from being overlooked.

True Goal Setting – A Frame Work

I encourage young talent to set no less than four goals, and no more than six. Here’s how you should frame them:

  1. They should be set annually.
  2. Each goal should be measurable, so they can be scaled and the subsequent performance evaluated either as exceptional or poor.
  3. Employees are responsible for gathering verified data.
  4. Results matter. The ability to be disciplined in your time management can’t be stated enough.

Breaking Down the Goals

Two goals should be achieved individually. Just doing your job doesn’t count – that’s already expected of you. Goals should be to increase your effectiveness, whether in terms of (1) quality of your work or (2) ability to get things done quicker, so you can be more productive. These goals are objective, but it’s up to you to keep track of them.

One goal should be set with you as a team member.  Teamwork is essential to any organization and you should strive for more effectiveness in this regard. It is not a popularity contest, but how well you work with others.  Peer evaluations can give you wonderful feedback.

At least one goal should be set with you as a team leader. It’s a difficult goal, requiring you to look at your current job description and brainstorm ideas that should be explored to develop best practices.  Leadership is not about being given a title; it is about proactively looking for ways to be a leader, then effectively leading the team to results. 

Stretch Goals – Benefit the Organization

That’s four goals so far, the minimum you should strive to achieve. Any goal beyond these should benefit the organization directly. This is what’s known as a stretch goal. A stretch goal tests your range and flexibility. You may have a firm grasp on your current job function and now it is time to reach and grab something else.  A stretch goal is not about asking for a promotion.  It is not about asking for more responsibility.  It is about you taking on an increased workload or a chance to improve the business.  A stretch goal is about showing that you can make something happen faster, cheaper and with better quality.  This demonstrates that you are ready for more responsibility, more opportunity and more money.

Careers are earned and not given; don’t be a bystander who wishes for more. Seize the opportunity through achievement.

This has been the last article in our “From the desk of” series, special content created just for you, from our CEO Brad Eller. Share it as you wish, in the form of a link, or informally. The intent is to help your people align their career goals with the everyday needs of the organization, creating value.

To read all the articles: click here.