“A goal is a dream with a plan.”
There is an abundance of information available about how to achieve your goals, but what if you’re unclear on what exactly they are? Many of us have hazy, poorly defined goals floating in our minds for some time in the future, but if you’re serious about achieving a particular goal, you have to get specific.
You can’t map out your path to an unknown destination, so having clearly defined goals and a vision for achievement is paramount to success. Whether that goal is personal or professional, for yourself or your team, here’s how I teach people to get clear on their goals.
Identify Your Vision.
Where do you want to go, what vision do you have for yourself or your team? Identifying your vision means thinking big picture- what is the end result you want to achieve?
There are many questions you can ask yourself to identify your vision, but during this phase of exploration, you should remain open and bold, and consider what is truly most important to you. Once the big picture is established, you can dial down specifics. A smart goal is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based. Saying “I’d like to lead my team to a profitable year” is not a smart goal. Instead, say, “I will lead my team to a 20% increase in productivity without hiring new people or having them work overtime by investing in a new piece of equipment, which will be offset by a 30% increase in profits.”
Instead of saying your goal is to foster a more collaborative team environment, say you will be pairing up people from different offices to work together on new projects, hold two team-building events each quarter, and ask employees to schedule one virtual coffee meeting with a new team member each week.
Understand Existing Strengths and Gaps.
I believe one of the most important factors in getting clear on your goals is awareness; you need to take inventory of things as they are now and consider how that will affect the achievement of your goals. By acknowledging weaknesses and strengths, you are able to define what needs to be worked on and evaluate the realistic and achievable aspects of your goals. I’ve seen people quit before they start because they are unsure of what is holding them back. Alternatively, some people know what’s holding them back but don’t know how to address it. Identifying and clearing potential roadblocks is critical to establishing clarity and confidence in your goals.
Sometimes our goals become convoluted along the path to achieving them, and it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Staying clear and focused on your goals is a continuous process, and regularly revisiting your plan is key to success. You must have some kind of accountability system, keeping you grounded in what needs to be done without losing focus or clarity. When you check in on your progress, always note setbacks and how you overcame them; you can use what you’ve learned to tackle the next challenge!
About Dr. Wilkerson, PD, MDA.
Do you want to develop and use your abilities to the fullest and better connect with and lead others? Coaching maximizes impact, and Dr. Wilkerson, PD, MDA, has more than 30 years of successful executive leadership coaching in the United States and internationally.
As a licensed pharmacist, he is particularly passionate about helping develop effective leaders in the healthcare community. Dr. Wilkerson has coached and trained thousands of managers and leaders. He is a certified coach and member of the John Maxwell Leadership Team.
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