The beginning of a new year is an opportunity. It’s a time to reflect back on what we accomplished in the previous year and get a fresh start on the year ahead. As we wrap up the year, there’s no better time for your team to begin setting leadership goals and preparing to be Goal Getters.
For some, the New Year is a time for setting resolutions. Just the word resolution causes me to think “resistance” and implies that sheer willpower will enable me to get something accomplished. We much prefer to work with our clients on setting great goals that really matter. One way that leaders can engage in team goal setting is by first identifying the most critical priorities for their new program team, and then using the RASCI model to assign cross-functional accountabilities for working on those goals over the next year.
Goal setting may look different from one team to another. One group may need to think strategically about career goals and where they want to be sitting one or two years down the road. Another may want to identify the top 10 goals for their personal AND professional lives. Ultimately, what will it take for you to look back on the year to say that it was “your best year yet?”
How To Set Leadership Goals
One of the first steps of setting team leadership goals is not to look forward, but to look back. Take the time to look backwards and reflect on not only what you accomplished or fell short on last year, but also your “success patterns,” i.e., what contributed to success or failure and what are the “lessons learned.” Too many times in our quest to move forward, we forget to celebrate our success and learn what we can take forward into the new year.
When it comes time for setting goals, it’s important to avoid getting hung up on whether something is a Goal, an Objective, a Strategy, or a Tactic. This becomes too tedious and de-energizing. Start with the premise that you are going to create a terrific year for yourself or your business or your team. Imagine it’s December 31, 2023, and as you look back, you realize that 2023 was not just a good year…it was a great year! Think about what you would be proud and pleased to say that you achieved in 2023. What stretch goals did you hit? What did you improve? What “bad” things did you fix or eliminate?
The next step is to envision and begin identifying your goals. State the goals in the positive and present tense, as if you have already accomplished them. When you’re done, ask yourself this question, “If I or we really accomplished all of (or most of) these things would I/we be proud, confident, happy…and just plain better overall? These are the great things you’re predicting can happen for your business, for your family, for your friends and community, and for yourself.
Once you have clear end-state goals (and have written them down), then it’s time to create a New Year Great Goal Plan that will include metrics and milestones for each goal: How will you know you are making progress on a monthly/quarterly basis and what are the steps you need to take to get there. Your plan should make sure that your goals are all SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.
Now, some of us are born compulsive goal setters (raise your hand if you’ve been making To-Do lists since you were five!). For those who are naturally inclined to goal setting, structure such as planners, schematics, lists, and software is often helpful. And even if lists aren’t your preference, write your goals and tell several other people what they are. You will have a stronger chance of achieving them hands down.
If, on the other hand, this type of goal setting would drive you nuts, no need to worry. Our incredible brains help us out. Apparently, once we think about something we want to accomplish, the part of our brain called the “Reticular Activating System” goes on alert, sending us reminders about what we said we wanted to accomplish and directing us to resources that can help us. Writing down your goals strengthens those messages to your brain.
Setting Leadership Goals For The New Year And Beyond
This goal setting process is one that you can use for your individual, business, team, and even family goals. One of the keys to building a coaching culture amongst team leaders is to set goals collaboratively and comprehensively, sharing along the way.
A word of caution as you proceed on your Great Goals Journey – just like the adage “Don’t look backwards”, I strongly believe that if we only look and work towards the future, we’ll miss the wonderful moments of today. A well-rounded approach to setting leadership goals requires you to:
Take Action for Results: All the lists in the world cannot have an impact without taking meaningful actions to accomplish each task.
Identify Your Successful Achievements: Analyze past goals and milestones that you have successfully completed. Write out your “Patterns of Success” so that you can repeat them in the future.
Stop Living in “The Gap”: When you set aspirational goals, it is easy to focus on the obstacles and the effort it will take to bridge the gap between your goals and current reality. Instead, keep focused on achieving the milestones that signify progress to springboard you to the next level of achievement.
Pay Attention to Unexpected Gems: As you pursue your goals, you may encounter opportunities that you could not have anticipated. Pursue them, particularly if they are aligned with your long-term goals.
Review your goals and progress on a consistent schedule: For teams, goal reviews should happen on at least a monthly basis. For your personal goals, you should review them every two weeks, and with an accountability buddy if possible. Why the shorter review time frame for your personal goals? Most of us are used to setting goals at work. If you are not used to setting personal goals, it will be easier to put them aside and procrastinate working on them.
Work With A Coach To Begin Goal Getting!
Whether you’re lacking confidence in your goal setting process, or just want to hone it further to ensure that you are leveling up the way that you hoped, you need a coach. Executive coaches and other leadership coaches will help you to refine your strengths, identify weaknesses and blind spots, and ultimately put you on the path to being a Goal Getter.
Want to get started? Get in touch with us and we can begin cultivating goals together!
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