Goal setting can be such a daunting experience at work. First. HR sets a deadline and it’s usually during busy season so we have very limited time to think straight and meet with our managers. Then our managers are just concerned with the departmental goals that are in line with the company’s goals and it just goes downhill from there.
If i could go back and give my post-collegiate self any advice on goal setting at work, it would be the following:
I remember the usual questions that were about the quarter end numbers we had to meet and the metrics we had to obtain which were always hard set goals for the team. However, asking questions on this will help you. Not every metric is fair for every individual member of the team. Asking questions on how this metric can be achieved in your role can help you assess how you can meet this goal and how they can change this metric to make it a more obtainable goal for your specific role. It’s also important to ask for what you want. You want to be a manager one day? Then show your interest to your supervisor and ask how you can start on a path towards that goal. No one will hand you a promotion, you need to ask for what you want and communicate your goals to start the steps needed to get to that intent..
SET YOUR OWN PERSONAL GOALS
Every year I make my own goals and it’s always to improve at my job/career, however to be more specific it helps to set targeted goals that you can meet. For example maybe there is a project you wan to partake in or a different position you want to learn more about in the company. These are goals to set for yourself to accomplish the growth you are seeking in your profession. Most goals we set per the typical corporate HR forms has no area for personal development that your manager will approve. Small obtainable goals are so important for growth and despite not being able to publish them to HR it does not mean you cannot continue to set them for yourself.
SET UP FOLLOW UP MEETINGS
The third and most important advice I wish I had the confidence to follow through with in my first job and thereafter was following up on the goals I had set. My managers at the time always set up one on ones however these meetings tend to get rescheduled and you can lose several months of follow up and that’s when communication goes down the garbage. I can’t emphasize the importance of making sure you and your manger are aligned on your goals and expectations of your role in the company.I always see people get fired or perform poorly from a lack of communication with their supervisor. Most employees actually want to perform well and accomplish goals and improve in their role. By having a clear and open path of communication with your supervisor you can prevent any assumptions you may have of your manager or expectations that may not be there to begin with. This is also a great way to track your progress and prove your worth to your leadership team.
Now, it’s never too late to set up personal goals or start that path to more conversations with your manager. I’d love to hear what advice you would give your younger self if you could go back to when you were at your first job!