For many of us its goal setting time and that means some of us will get overly ambitious and set close-to-impossible goals for this new year (its possible I have experience in this area).
Most of us don’t set these goals because we want to fail. Motivation varies from the tantalizing thought of getting our top bonus/incentive payout to a misunderstanding of how much time it really takes to accomplish our ambitious goals.
Whatever the Reason Don’t Do It
I’m not saying you shouldn’t set aggressive goals. But I’m begging, pleading, and imploring you to set realistic goals. Don’t set yourself or your team up for failure.
What can you do to set realistic but still aggressive goals?
Acknowledge reality – This can be difficult because it means acknowledging you and/or your own teams shortcomings. If you are a couch potato you can’t get off the couch and run a marathon. You’re better off starting small – getting out the door, running a mile and increasing from there. And don’t forget to celebrate the small achievements along the way!
Analyze your resources – What kind of resources do you have? Let’s say one of your goals is to incorporate social media in your recruiting strategy. Is your company already active on social media? How comfortable is your team using social media for work? You need to know the starting point to assess what accomplishments look like.
Have Tough Conversations– Leaders in my audience- this is a critical skill. You will have direct reports with goals that are far too ambitious and direct reports with goals that are far too easy – you must be able to take a look at the first four suggestions and communicate as necessary.
Three to five is a good number – Depending on the depth and complexity of your goals five goals may be too much or three might not be enough. Don’t set yourself up for failure.
Small steps toward your ultimate goals are better than failure ever year
One of the biggest drawbacks (besides not completing an important goal) when you fail is the frustration and demoralizing attitude that can settle in. This doesn’t happen right away but enough failures and it can.
Now imagine if you are in charge of a team, a department or an organization! That frustration doesn’t just affect the individual it hits entire teams and departments.
Leaders play a huge role in setting the tone on goal setting – tough but reasonably achievable is far better than a goal everyone knows they can’t hit. It’s not enough to talk about the huge results we want – we can’t get those if we don’t set realistic goals with our teams. And sometimes that means smaller goals that are actually achievable.