Three tips for setting great goals

21.11.17

Three tips for setting great goals

In the next of our series of articles exploring the application of strengths, we look at goal-setting:

It’s that time of year when our thoughts are turning to reflection: Did we hit our KPIs? Did things go as we expected? And did we achieve the things we wanted to, both inside and outside work?

Hot on the heels of this contemplation – or, most often, in parallel – we’re also looking forward. In our non-work lives that means new year’s resolutions, frequently broken within a few weeks of grim January days. In our organisations, we try for something with more longevity, but they can end up being a bit ‘flat’. How can we make them really motivating instead?

Ensure your goals serve your role
It sounds silly, but make sure your goals are relevant to your role. A good starting point is to write down in just one sentence what your job is – it’s much harder than it sounds, and can be a useful indicator of how much clarity you have over what you’re in post to achieve. Avoid being drawn into goals that don’t serve your role – and look at redefining your role if the things you need to get done don’t seem to fit.

Align your goals with your strengths
By drawing your strengths into your goals, you make them much more inspiring. For example, if I had a strength around supporting others, I might choose to set goals around working collaboratively, learning new skills in order to share colleagues’ tasks, or simply ‘helping’ my organisation. Even the words you choose can make your goals more motivating.

Make your goals SMART+
We’ve all heard of SMART goals, but we can push them further. By making them challenging and positive, as well as SMART, we make them more energising. Rather than ‘Reduce call waiting times on the helpline by 10% by the end of the year’, we might go for ‘Create a great online help resource by June, so that clients can access support more efficiently’. The outcomes are the same – less pressure on the helpline and happier customers – but by making a positive and challenging solution part of the goal it becomes much more driven.

To help individuals and organisations use their strengths most effectively, we’ve developed a series of six 45-minute workshops teaching people how to apply them in different workplace scenarios, such as goal setting – find out more here.
Over the next two weeks, we’ll be posting articles exploring each of these scenarios from a theoretical, business or personal perspective.

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