“A goal without a plan and timeline is just a wish”DENIS BAKER
We are finally coming to the end of one of the most challenging years of my life! I bet many of you would say the same.
As I look into the many variable possibilities of 2021, I realize that setting achievable goals is a critical path to achieving success. Many of us feel as if we’re floating in our world, not knowing what will come next. Most of us are hard workers, but maybe we didn’t get where we wanted in 2020, and maybe our attitude has fallen to there is nothing worthwhile.
Regardless of the future, we need to continue our goal-setting activities; whether it is personal or professional, the ability to know where we want to go will give us the skill to pick the right road going in the right direction. However, the way we approach the process determines the outcome. The process of setting goals helps identify where you want to go. By knowing specifically what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts. This will enable you to quickly identify distractions that can lead you off course.
To accomplish your goals, you need to know how to clearly write them. You can’t merely say, “I want,” and expect it to happen. Goal setting is a process that requires careful consideration of what you want, the hard to do and ends with the desired outcome.
In recent years, I have added a phase to my goal-setting process. Not only do I identify what I want to achieve by year’s end, but I now ask questions to define the specific goal I want to achieve.
Here is my new questioning process;
|X||where you are now, or your current reality|
|Y||where do you want to go—what will be your finish line|
|When||The date you want to cross the finish line|
Let me give you some example to clarify my statement;
When the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) was developed in the 1950s, the original goal was;
“Leading the World in Space Exploration.”
When John F. Kennedy became president in 1961, he changed NASA’s goal to:
“Land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth before this decade is out.”
Let’s put the 1950s NASA goal through the test: “Leading the World in Space Exploration.”
|X||where are you now, or your current reality?||Unknown|
|Y||where do you want to go? what will be your finish line?||The word “leading” is somewhat vague. Results undetermined.|
|When||The date you want to cross the finish line?||Unknown, it doesn’t list any timeline|
Now let’s run JFK’s revised goal through the test: “Land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth before this decade is out.”
|X||where you are now, or your current reality||Earth|
|Y||where do you want to go—what will be your finish line||Moon—with a safe return to Earth. What will be your finish line? A successful launch, landing, and re-entry.|
|When||The date you want to cross the finish line||December 31, 1969.|
Looking at these two tests, which one would answer the questions below?
- In which decade would you have wanted to work for NASA? The 50s or the 60s?
- In which decade was the goal crystal clear? The 50s or the 60s?
If you focus on JFK’s revised goal, I think you know the right answers.
Let’s look at a more realistic example.
ORIGINAL GOAL – “Improve the onboarding process for new hires.”
|X||where you are now, or your current reality||Unknown|
|Y||where do you want to go—what will be your finish line||To improve the process. Results undetermined.|
|When||The date you want to cross the finish line||Unknown, it doesn’t list any timeline|
REVISED GOAL – “Reduce onboarding time for new hires by 50 percent in quarter two by establishing a detailed onboarding process with at least five training courses and three shadowing opportunities with experienced team members.”
|X||where you are now, or your current reality||Long onboarding process|
|Y||where do you want to go—what will be your finish line||Reduce the time by 50%. New hire onboarding process that includes 5 courses and three shadowing opportunities with an experienced employee|
|When||The date you want to cross the finish line||By the end of the 2nd quarter|
Both of these examples provide clear outcomes of asking the right questions to determine the clarity of each goal.
SO WHAT, NOW WHAT
When we have clearly defined goals with expected outcomes and achievement dates, we set the path forward down the chosen road to achieving our vision and desires for the new year.
If you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it everytime.”UNKNOWN
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