Archive for the ‘ Goals ’ Category

Give me a goal

Many companies, at the beginning of each year set and help employees define goals for the upcoming year.  MBO’s – managing by objectives, SMART goals, Performance Goals and any number of other really cool sounding targets that we should achieve by year end – and maybe we get paid more if they are achieved.

There are several ways that goals are set, among them:

Top-Down:  Just what it sounds like.  Goals set at the top, everyone else tries to figure out what they mean and achieve them.  Sometimes they work well, and we get it and can run to execute and achieve.  Other times it leaves the ‘doers’ disconnected, uninvolved and not aligned with the goal-setter’s mission.  The team may have a “what’s in it for me” thought, or a feeling of “they just gave me a goal that I don’t care about”.

Personal Goals:  Likely in conjunction with the annual performance  appraisal, individuals get to set their goals or objectives for the year.  Sometimes this works well too.  Individuals can grow and achieve.  At risk is the connection between the achievement of the goal and the company growth or success, leaving the company saying “what’s in it for me”.

I propose that goals should be set collaboratively, and tie these two approaches together.  A model we often use in helping people set goals we call “Big Dot, Little Dot”, which is quite simple.  For example, if I am trying to lose weight (Big Dot) I might 1. Exercise, 2. Eat Better, 3. Drink Less Beer. (little dots)  Each little dot would have executable tactics that I can do every day to achieve the little dot, and inturn affect the Big Dot.  Corporate goals or objectives should work the same way.  For example:

Corporate goal:  Grow Sales by 5% >

Division Goal A:  Create and implement new customer facing software  >

Manager’s personal goal A:  Learn to evaluate software attributes, build an RFP and negotiate selection, 

Manager Goal B: Develop skill in delegating projects through my team. 

It would be easy to get lost in the details of this writing, but I think you get the point.  Involving managers at all levels in creating their own goals allows them to buy-in and provides them a voice in what they will work on, personally and professionally.  Ensuring they tie into corporate goals and objectives helps keep everyone focused on the same “Big Dot” at the end of the day, which will help achieve the intended corporate results.

Written by Zack Clark, MBA

Zack is a Senior Consultant and one of the founding partners at Five Degrees Consulting. Connect with on LinkedIn and Twitter, or leave a comment below.

This is a blog we share  between several of the Consultants at Five Degrees, guest authors and colleagues.  We work with companies large and small on People and Organization strategies.  Our work specializes in organizational development, leadership effectiveness and executive development. With a focus on working with leaders at all levels to create an intentional corporate culture, we help organizations increase employee engagement, energize working teams, develop critical leadership competencies and enhance strategic communications for more information about our services, please connect with us.


Importance of Keeping a Schedule

As life gets even more crazy, most can benefit from keeping a daily schedule to help manage time more efficiently when you are juggling your work life, family life, and personal goals.

Keeping to a schedule is like setting and accomplishing a goal for each day. You will be less likely to forget tasks you want to accomplish or get sidetracked with external distractions.

Here are some important items to remember when trying to keep a schedule.

  1. Make sure you are setting a realistic time frame and schedule for yourself. The point of this is not to cram more into your already busy day but keep it more well-constructed.
  2. This is a good time to make sure you schedule in important items that usually get left to the wayside because you have run out of time in your day. This could be time to make important phone calls, write thank you emails or notes to clients or colleagues, filing paperwork or updating your blog.
  3. Keep a task list and cross of items as you complete them. Not only does it feel good to scratch a pen over you least favorite task but you will be less likely to forget about them or put them off.
  4. If something unexpected arises and you can’t keep to your schedule or cross of all items on your task list, move the items to the next day. However, if you find that you are doing this frequently you might want to reevaluate your schedule and make sure it’s not too time constraining or unrealistic.
  5. Keep your schedule on your calendar and/or PDA so you are looking at it all the time. It might be good to have your whole calendar day blocked out for certain items. A colleague of mine had a goal of setting time aside to meditate every Friday morning for 30 minutes so she put it on her calendar. This way she wouldn’t forget and would hold herself accountable.
  6. Don’t forget about personal time. Schedule time to meditate like my friend or if fitness is important or a current goal then make sure you block out time to go to the gym. For example, set a schedule to wake up at 6:30 a.m. everyday, get to the gym by 7:00 a.m. and make it to work by 8:00 a.m. Another thing to remember that often gets forgotten is to leave meal time. How often are we in a hurry to get out the door and don’t eat breakfast or get tied down at work and don’t eat lunch? Make sure you block out a lunch hour, or even a half-hour if you have a busy day. The break-time will re-energize you and keep you fresh.

Make sure you repeat your schedule everyday and every week. You will probably find that you are accomplishing more, being more productive with your time, and fulfilling your personal goals that often get forgotten.

Looking for the best or just get stuff done?

My formal training is in creativity. Every day, I studied and practiced to be more creative, you know, the whole ‘think outside of the box’ thing. If my degrees and grades are any indication, I got pretty good at solving problems using the creative process.

Since then, it seems that I have spent more time just solving problems ’cause theyneed to be solved and less time using my established system of creativity to kick the problem where it counts. Either way, the problem gets fixed, but could the problem have been fixed better using more creativity?

This then is my conundrum. Do I take the time… time is money, right?… So, do I take the ‘money’ to work through a problem to solve it creatively or do I do the best I can to solve the problem as quickly as possible?

Are we looking for the best, but possibly more expensive and getting less done?


Are we looking to get more things done well but not best?

I don’t know. What do you think?

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