Do you have clear performance goals?

As a parent I am making the transition from kinder to school, so the holidays are an interesting time.  Keeping my son occupied for such an extended period is unexplored territory in my house – I hear you all quietly saying ‘Good luck with that!’

In my effort to keep him amused, I pulled out a new board game.  The first thing he asked me when I pulled it out was ‘What are the rules and how do I win?’  Now it’s fair to say he is a competitive kid (he can thank his father), but what struck me about his comment was his desire to understand exactly what was expected of him from the outset.

As organisations start to undertake mid-year performance reviews, I dare say there will be more than a handful of people who receive feedback that comes as a surprise – and not necessarily of the positive kind! Unfortunately, far too many people don’t make the effort to understand exactly what is expected of them and what they need to do to get there.

Taking the time to set clear, measurable and specific goals is a surefire way to prevent yourself from getting caught out.  Goal setting provides clarity.  Done properly, it is guaranteed to help you take control of your workload and performance for the remainder of the financial year.

So, how do you set meaningful goals if you haven’t already done so?  Here are my top tips:

  1. Identify your key areas of focus

Talk to your manager.  Ask them what they consider to be your key strengths and areas for development.   Equally, give some thought to it yourself.  Here are a couple of questions to get your thinking:

  • What are your greatest achievements?
  • What do you aspire to be?
  • What are the top challenges you face?
  1. Make sure each goals fits the SMART principles

Each goal should be specific enough that it doesn’t matter who reviews your performance it is clear whether you did or didn’t produce the agreed-upon result.
When you are crafting your goals consider answering the following questions:

  • What is the benefit of achieving this goal for you and for the business?
  • How will you know when you have achieved your goal or made progress? What is the measure you will use?
  • What is the timeframe within which you will achieve the goal?
  • Can you realistically achieve this goal if you stretch yourself? How can you tweak the goal to make it challenging yet achievable?
  1. Road test your goals with your manager

Discuss and finalise each of your goals with your manager to ensure they align with the organisation’s broader business objectives.  I also recommend you take the opportunity to walk your manager through your action plan for achieving each goal, and how they can support you.

Great goals will eliminate surprises and leave you feeling empowered and in control of your work.

To learn more about how People Focused can assist your organisation engage and energise its employees through goal setting email

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