Seeing my Goals through to the Finish Line
What strategies are the most effective to ensure goals are met?
One thing that I’ve observed about work is that a lot of time and emphasis is spent on goal setting, but a well-written goal, while extremely important, isn’t the only part to ensuring goals are met, right? What are the other pieces necessary to see goals through? I decided to investigate this week, what strategies and skills are needed to make sure the goals you set, both at a personal and team level.
What Strategies Should I Use?
Below are some of the strategies that I believe are the most important things individuals and groups can use to achieve their goals.
- Set goals together, both at the personal level and team level. One framework I’ve used at work when developing learning objectives for courses, is to create SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. SMART goals are effective because they break goals into chunks that allow you to monitor progress and make adjustments as needed (Purdue University Global, 2020).
- Focus on things you can control, such as your surroundings and environment as these can be directly linked to one’s success. According to James Clear, “we often make decisions based on the environment we find ourselves in.” Clear goes on to write, that keeping things simple, using visual cues to nudge your actions, and by incorporating an “opt-out” vs. “opt-in” mindset.
- Have Check-ins and set Deadlines. With a team, deadlines help create accountability, but also keep a goal in “sight” instead of being pushed down the prioritization list, because no deadline has been set. Without one, it’s easier to push it off for other work. Check-ins are needed to see how things are going, not just to track progress, but as a coach to see how they can support the “coachee” in achieving their goals. (Impraise Blog). Coaches can also use this time to motivate their “coachees”, by recognizing the work they’ve already done and encouraging them with feedback.
- Facilitate communication, trust, cooperation. Coaches are open to suggestions and concerns, ask questions and offer help, and are clear in their own communications. Coaches can also facilitate trust and cooperation by establishing group norms, encouraging listening, valuing everyone’s input, and work to build consensus among group members (UC Berkeley People & Culture). This is needed, not only for the goals to be successful, but for the group to build capacity and be more willing to take risks.
- Foster emotional intelligence and empathy. “Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, as well as recognize and influence the emotions of those around you.” I don’t interpret this as learning to be manipulative, but instead by becoming more aware of the unspoken feelings and groups feelings, we can develop more camaraderie and empathy for each other. This makes working together less stressful, more productive, and better capable of navigating disagreements and difficult conversations (Landry, 2019).
- “Research in the Harvard Business Review found that teams with individuals who lack self-awareness make worse decisions and are less effective at conflict management.”
- Develop a process to go back and review. Regardless of the success, coaches should recognize that there is always something to be learned and that review is an important component of seeing goals through. One of the things I learned as a business student was to identify “root causes”. This is especially important when going back to review why something didn’t work out, there may be associated level factors, but in a review process if you only focus on those, the problem may never get resolved and it may keep happening.
I’m sure there are more strategies than what I listed here, that are necessary to ensure goals are successful. For Individuals, things like organized workspace and getting enough sleep are important, as well as others. It’s not possible to write about each strategy in this post, but I did feel like I could highlight the ones that are most meaningful to me.; the ones that I think must always be present regardless of the situation and who a coach is working with.
Most of what I have iterated today, could be seen as “common sense,” but as I found myself writing each point down, I realized, I hadn’t really understood why they were effective, just that they were effective strategies. The one that surprised me the most is the emotional intelligence, because while I know that emotions are important and influence our ability to work well, I hadn’t dug into the research before. I didn’t know work capacity and decision making could be so drastically affected, particularly among team members.
It’s my hope by putting together this list, that this helps reinforce good strategies, but has also helped explain why these are good strategies to employ on a regular basis.
Purdue University Global. Updated 2020. Student life blog. Goal setting strategies and resources to get you motivated for the new year. https://www.purdueglobal.edu/blog/student-life/goal-setting-worksheet/
Clear, J. Goal setting:” A scientific guide to setting and achieving goals. How to align your environment with your goals. https://jamesclear.com/goal-setting#How%20to%C2%A0Align%20Your%20Environment%20With%20Your%20Goals
UC Berkeley People & Culture. Guide to managing human resources. Seps to building an effective team. https://hr.berkeley.edu/hr-network/central-guide-managing-hr/managing-hr/interaction/team-building/steps
Landry, L. 2019. Harvard Business School Blog. Emotional intelligence skills: What they are & how to develop them. https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/emotional-intelligence-skills