Goal Setting for Project and Personal Success

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Every employee wants to make a name for themselves at their company or on their project. Many employees even desire to be the area expert in their job field. However, in order to take even the smallest of steps forward, there must first be goals set.To ensure that your career is going in the direction you want it to, set clear and concise goals, ensure your goals are realistic and attainable, align with company/project objectives, establish benchmarks to measure your progress, and do what you can to stay motivated.

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Set your Goal

Decide exactly what it is that you want and how it supports your project. Goal setting is the opposite of floating through life and letting things just happen to you. Setting goals requires you to make a decision about what you actually want, then create a plan of action to guide you to achieving your goal. Write it down; putting your goal down on paper is more than just memorizing it. You are actually confirming your willingness to make it come true. A written list of goals is an effective reminder of what you need to do. Start small, but keep moving. Goals don’t necessarily have to be big.

Example: Identify a need/requirement for the company.

Make Realistic Goals

Create ambitious but realistic and measurable goals based on your understanding of your company’s mission, customer needs, and current performance levels. These goals should challenge you to achieve performance improvements comparable to those achieved by other leaders who have reached the goals you seek. The goal setting process requires careful consideration. Performance goals should be realistically achievable to avoid negative consequences, such as employee disillusionment or custumer dissatisfaction, if they are not met. If goals are unachievable,you might find it overwhelming and too time consuming, so you just give up or keep changing goals rather than achieving anything. At the same time, setting goals that are too modest can be counterproductive. Work to find the perfect medium and commit to achieving, or even surpassing your goal.

Example: If your goal is to enhance the Company’s Information and Personnel Security Program, then focus your efforts towards the development in the area of security management, security administration, and security training. 

Establish Benchmarks

There are a number of critical factors that can influence whether goal-setting and performance measurement efforts will be successful. First and foremost, to be successful, employees must establish benchmarks to measure their performance and customer expectations.Benchmarking helps define specific reference points for setting performance improvement targets.

Set goals in small increments, complete with time, dates, amount, and some details. If you tell yourself, “I want to be a mobile application developer” and then sit around and wait for it to suddenly happen, you could be waiting all your life. Start with software development courses and then expose yourself to the different mobile software distribution platforms. You can then progress to more integrated development environments and concentrated software courses year after year. By breaking down your goals in smaller, workable units, you are more likely to make them come true. Remember, even the greatest leaders had to start somewhere.

Example: To help enhance the Company’s Information and Personnel Security Program, establish protocols and operational procedures for physical security, visitor control, restricted/controlled access areas. 

Don’t Procrastinate

Wasting time is one of the biggest dream killers. If Steve Jobs put off studying and tinkering with computers for another time, someone else would have improved on computer graphics and he wouldn’t have gone down in history as a pioneer. If you’re used to procrastination, being strong minded about a goal can seem scary at first. Try to set a schedule and then reward yourself each time you meet it.

A good thing to do immediately to progress in your goal would be to produce an access roster and a checklist of tasks to accomplish.

Review Your Progress

After setting, affirming and doing, comes reviewing. As part of setting your goals, be sure to write in occasional statements that support reviewing your goals progress. They are important reminders to keep you on the path of achieving the goals you’ve set yourself.

At this point in your goal you should review your checklist to check off your accomplishments and make note of any issues encountered so far.

Stay Motivated

Be positive when stating your goals. Instead of saying, “I can’t complete this task today”, say “I can complete the major portions of the task today and submit the draft for review.” Stating your goal positively will help you view it as a good thing to do, and not as something you want to avoid.

Don’t underestimate yourself. It’s tempting to sometimes just slack off or let yourself off too easily. If you have a large company publication to write don’t try to churn out just a page or two a day when you know you’re more than capable of writing five pages, even ten. The fear of failure is sometimes to blame for setting our goals too low.

Goal setting can be very overwhelming as you seek the most direct path to your goals. Read these every time you feel despondent. These can serve to invigorate and motivate you:

  • Believe that you can do it, because you can.
  • No one lives long enough to learn everything they need to learn starting from scratch. To be successful, we absolutely, positively have to find people who have already paid the price to learn the things that we need to learn to achieve our goals.
  • Every day you spend drifting away from your goals is a waste not only of that day, but also of the additional day it takes to regain lost ground.

Example: Revamping the enhancement of the Company Information and Personnel Security Program can seem overwhelming, however,  you are well on your way to accomplishing your goal. A good idea to stay motivated at this point to is have small achievements within your overall goal. An achievement for this particular goal would be to publish the Standard Operating Procedures document. This document ensures that all personnel are aware and knowledgable on the policy changes and new security requirements.

Lastly, meet with your supervisor to ensure that you have hit the mark on the expectations and accomplishment of the goal.

All in all, the small decisions you make every day can have a great impact on working towards your goals. Remember that your goals are your road maps to success in life; without them, you can lose your way.