Goal Setting is an important part of the process and kicks off the annual performance / appraisal cycle.
In an ideal world the process of setting your goals should be a collaborative process between you and your boss/ manager.This is not always the case and sometimes you need to set them yourself (but don’t be afraid of catching a quite coffee with your boss/manager once you have a list of goals to get their thoughts and to enable them to help you achieve your goals (after all if they don’t know what they are – they can’t offer assistance).
Whether writing long or short term goals, the most widely used framework is S-M-A-R-T. Your boss and colleagues will probably already be talking about making sure you set SMART goals – so here is a quick reminder.
Specific: Well-defined with specific goals, so that both you and your boss can easily measure progress toward goal completion.
Measurable: Provide milestones to track progress and motivate yourself.
Attainable: Success needs to be achievable with effort not too high or too low.
Relevant: It should be relevant to the companies objectives (not just your own).
Time-bound: Establish enough time to achieve the goal, but not too much time to undermine performance.
Do your research! If you are not getting your goals handed to you on a plate you should ensure that your goals incorporate both your personal objectives and those of your company. Read your company business plan, do your research, ask the question of your boss to ensure that you are on message. This is particularly important if you are looking to be promoted: make sure you know (and understand) what the promotion criteria are.
Once you’ve established your goals, the next step is tracking progress on those goals. If you are serious about taking control of your career you should write a career journal. If you haven’t already got one why not get started with our book PROMPT: 52 prompts for setting up and writing your career journal. It’s important to track your progress on goals because you will need to have the information available during the all-important review process.
This is why we’ve created the Career Progression Goals and Meetings Notebook which has a focus on setting goals, developing an action plan and tracking your progress as well as one handy place to prepare for and keep a record of career related meetings, your achievements, training and of course that all important appraisal / review meeting. The notebook can be used with or without a career journal.
Finally having this information handy is also helpful and can be used as a prompt when your boss is not aware of all of the steps involved in reaching a goal and strong documentation assists you in discussions of past projects and successes when review time rolls around. Tracking your goals in a central notebook helps you stay on track in several ways:
- Organise, manage and reassess your goals frequently
- Create action plans with milestones for larger goals
- Track your time to make sure your efforts are focused on meaningful tasks