Posted by Matt • September 15, 2016 (Last modified July 29, 2018) • 4 min read
We can all agree that being successful in our career, and moreover our life, is something that we strive towards each and every day. Whether you use performance evaluation software or not, one incredibly effective way to set yourself up for success is to set goals.
Alexandra Levit, author of “They Don’t Teach Corporate in College,” says: “Professionals are responsible for driving their own careers.” According to Levit, it’s imperative to set goals with your supervisor and “know how to articulate your contribution to your company so you can be recognized.”
While it’s pretty easy to feel overwhelmed with day-to-day tasks and duties, if you lose sight of the big picture (your career path) you won’t generate the results you want to accomplish. Levit adds: “If you aren’t proactive about your growth by setting career goals with your supervisor, it is likely that you will be at one level for longer than you might like.
With the above in mind, you might be anxious to login to your performance evaluation software site at this point and set some goals for yourself. Perhaps a promotion at work; or obtain a certification, etc. But, if you’re not working to develop a specific game plan (how these goals are achieved), you’re missing out on valuable information that can help in not only achieving your goals, but surpassing them completely.
This is where the S.M.A.R.T. principle of goal setting comes into play. Created by George T. Doran in 1981 (within the paper ‘There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives’) the S.M.A.R.T. principle helps you to organize and work to reach your goals one step at a time. The criteria is as follows:
Your goal should specifically state what needs to accomplished/completed. The goal needs to be clear and should not be ambiguous. There should be no doubt in what you are trying to do. As an example, rather than stating you want a promotion, set a specific goal to take on a new project/initiative each month.
Your goal should be able to be measured in some way, so you can see if you achieved it or not. Ensuring that your goal measurable will also help you to keep track of your progress. How can you measure taking on new projects? Well, you can use Performance Management software (like Trakstar) to document which projects you have taken on and how they are progressing.
You want to figure our how you are going to make your goal happen. In order to achieve it you must be willing to make some sort of effort. You can actively set reminders to update your progress on these additional projects, or your could loop in your manager to provide some constructive feedback. Point being, working out with others often makes us more accountable because we know another person is relying on us to follow through.
A goal is a not a wish; it needs be something that is attainable to you as an individual. Starting off small and building up in increments is often a great way to make a goal realistic.
Set a date for when you want to accomplish your goal so that you can keep yourself accountable.
Tony Beshara, owner and president of the Texas-based placement and recruitment service firm Babich & Associates, says that as you set one-year, five-year and 10-year goals, plan to review them with people who are meaningful to you, such as a spouse, mentor and boss. If you use performance evaluation software, you may want to see if there is functionality to support this. Research also reveals that public goals are more effective than private goals. This indicates that you make others aware of your goals. Psychologically you are more apt to achieve your goals if you know that other people are “watching. “We all need help to get to our goals and these people will help us do that,” Beshara says. “It’s also important that you do the same thing for them.”
Remember above all else that your goals should take you from Point A to B and beyond. Beshara emphasizes the importance of relevancy, risk and time. “A timed goal/intention is an absolute necessity. Too many people design a goal/intention with no time limits. They let themselves off the hook from the outset.”
Plan your goals using this S.M.A.R.T. principle, and begin working towards your career aspirations!
Don't Miss Out on More Great HR Articles!
Subscribe to get the latest, greatest HR and Talent Development content straight to your inbox.