Some Thoughts On Goal-Setting

There are plenty of approaches to creating goals, but regardless of the approach, I find two things are often missing.

New year - new goals.

While I incorporate goal-setting in almost all of my coaching engagements, I do so carefully because it's so easy for goal-setting to become a wasted or discouraging effort when done wrong.

There are plenty of approaches to creating goals, such as SMART, FAST, and OKRs; regardless of the approach, there are two things I notice are consistently missing from goal-setting:

  • a clear understanding of the value of achieving the goal, and
  • discussing it often with other people.

Complex Problems

Unsolvable complex problems plague managers. In coaching, I guide managers to identify the problem, figure out a straightforward course of action, and observe behaviors and outcomes. The goal is not to reach a definitive solution but to deepen understanding and make meaningful progress. Below, I use this framework to outline a common problem in goal-setting. 

Problem: Goals don't get results.

Does the annual goal-setting process seem like a pointless exercise pushed on you from "corporate"? Are goals set and then ignored until December? Perhaps, you've never seen the connection between goal-setting and business performance.

Goal-setting can be a powerful tool for transformational leaders, but like most useful business practices, they can become stale and ineffective over time. It can become just another box to check.

Time for a refresh! 

Try this: Incorporate value and community.

"If I accomplish this, what value does it add?" Asking this simple question can make a huge difference. It's easy for generic and useless goals to creep in; I even see it at C-suite strategy sessions. The goal may follow the format for SMART goals, FAST goals or OKRs, but even if the goal is accomplished, it may not actually add any value to the business. That's a shame.

No goal has intrinsic value. If you can't articulate the value, rewrite the goal.

Next, try setting group or team goals and talk about them weekly. If you set a personal goal, tell your manager or coworker. Week after week, tell them where you've succeeded, where you messed up, and how you've revised your goal. 

Expected outcome: Completing goals that add value.

Every goal-setting or strategic planning session exists to align each person in the organization to the broader mission. Setting good goals increases job and organizational engagement by clarifying job demands, creating supervisor/organizational support, and improving role-fit perceptions. Employees come away understanding what is expected of them, why it matters, and what they can do about it. Ultimately, realizing the benefit of the goal you set out to accomplish. 

What I'm working on

I do my best work when I'm learning new things and finding new tools to incorporate in my coaching practice. This year I'm focused on developing my coaching knowledge, skills, and abilities. So, I'm reading, learning, presenting, and practicing.

The book Positive Intelligence was an amazing find for me (see below), and I joined the Positive Intelligence Program for Coaches in January.

My goal for 2023 is to earn my ICF coaching certification in order to be a more effective coach - bringing about positive change faster for my coachees.


What I'm reading now

 Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine 
Are you feeling stressed or burned out? Positive Intelligence is the first book I would recommend. Renowned leadership coach Shirzad Chamine takes the complexities of human psychological research and presents the results in a fun and engaging way.

I've heard of this book for years but was initially skeptical. I picked it up at a used bookstore on a whim, and I haven't looked back! It's easy for me to fall into negative spirals of restlessness or perfectionism but this book and the daily practice it has introduced have provided the disruption I need.  

What's new 

I'll be presenting at Founded In FoCo on March 2nd. Join me and my friends in the Fort Collins start-up community for a free 3-day event featuring presentations and networking for small businesses and entrepreneurs. My talk will be for solopreneurs trying to grow their impact without growing their headcount.

Watch my recent podcast interview about why I do the work that I do, plus a sneak peek at the talk that I will be giving >>>> 



Disclaimer: The links in this post may contain affiliate links.

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