Setting Goals

2014 is on everyone’s mind.  Goals, budgets, timelines, plans.  Here are some tips as you develop your goals and plans for next year.

  1. Keep your goals simple and few.  Constantly ask yourself WHY you want to achieve that goal.  Be wary of the long laundry list of what is to be accomplished.  Though this list usually represents uninhibited enthusiasm for change and improvement, it must be bridled with action plans.  Otherwise it is just a list and hope is the only strategy being employed.  Be specific, be thoughtful about the effort required and before going public, edit, rethink and revise.
  2. There is a time for off-site brainstorming sessions – and that was probably months ago.  If your budget/planning deadline is rapidly approaching, your brainstorming time is past.  At this point you will accomplish more by working in small, regular increments (22 minutes a day?) focused on refining action steps and clarifying your goals.
  3. Experiment.  Can you “act as if” the goal was achieved?  Create a Test Lab.  How would the operation be more productive?  Would it cost or save staff?  What is the impact on short-term and long-term goals?  What are the unintended consequences?  Devise a small scale two week experiment working as if the goal had been achieved –or implementing the action steps you believe are necessary to achieve the goal.  You will learn all kinds of interesting things that will cause you to tweak your action plan or your goals.
  4. Develop a public timeline for each goal.  Follow-up monthly or quarterly – and make that commitment part of your plan.  Too often we present plans but don’t hold ourselves accountable to them, even when the organization does not.  So take the initiative to publish your successes and failures along the way.  Keep your ideas and your intentions in front of those vested in them.
  5. Here’s a good article on the topic http://guides.wsj.com/management/strategy/how-to-set-goals/
  6. 2014 is just around the corner.  Make it your best year EVER!
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