Farewell 2017, Hello New Beginings!

Next Monday marks an unusual occurrence: the start of a new week, a new month, and a new year. Talk about a clean slate all around! The start of a new year is often a time to set goals and make plans. Unfortunately, New Year’s resolutions often crash and burn by February, leaving many defeated and disappointed. Setting professional goals that are attainable and realistic, both short and long-term, will help ensure that you are continuously working on some aspect of your career growth.

Heidi currently works as a personal banker at a local credit union. Her long-term career objective is to eventually reach an SVP (Senior Vice President) level within the next 5 years. This long-term career goal serves as a great foundation to set smaller, short-term objectives, with the next step of her career planning being determining what she needs to do to achieve this long-term goal. These more immediate objectives can include activities and various actions to participate in to reach the ultimate end result.

For example, a short-term goal Heidi can set would be determining what education is needed for that SVP position. Once she verifies those requirements, she can register for and participate in online certification courses, webinars, and other e-learning opportunities. Another option is to enroll in college courses or other training courses that are required/recommended for that job.

Talking with other individuals who currently hold, or have held, this position and developing realistic activities to participate in to help further develop the skills necessary for this position is another great sub-goal. Asking for small, manageable projects to gain skills and experience and volunteering to assist with other projects are additional short-term objectives she can set for herself to ensure that she is always working towards the light at the end of the tunnel.

Once short and long-term career goals are set and steps to achieve these goals have been defined and developed, make sure the plan is consistently reviewed and modified as necessary to ensure achievability. Adjust time frames, set rewards for achieving even the smallest of goals, and share the plan with others to get feedback and support.

New Year’s resolutions do not have to be daunting. Setting realistic and attainable career goals to work on throughout the year will help encourage professional growth and satisfaction.

The Personal, Mid-Year Review

Whether formal or informal, many employees are given a performance evaluation on an annual basis. Organizations are rapidly stepping away from the numerical, data-driven style of reviews (ranking the employee on some range indicating levels of performance) and instead are focusing on professional development and growth and setting personal goals that are mutually beneficial to both the employee and the organization.

While this more informal approach can occur at either a set time each year, or on an as-needed basis, at the end of the day the responsibility of accomplishing goals and objectives lies solely in the hands of the employee.

Halfway through your annual review period, take the time to conduct a personal, mid-year review to determine where you’re at in meeting any goals you and your supervisor have set and any modifications you may need to make to ensure success.

  • Reflect back on the past six months and identify accomplishments and achievements. What did you do to that aided in your successes, and how can you implement that into meeting current and future goals?
  • Identify those areas in which you’ve struggled. Reevaluate your objectives and make any necessary changes to your routines to ensure that you give yourself adequate time and resources to bounce back.
  • Have your goals and objectives changed in the past six months? Do you have a new direction and focus, requiring a need to set new goals?
  • After reviewing and modifying your goals, as necessary, prioritize them.

The personal, mid-year review is meant to be just that, personal. You can decide whether or not you wish to share this evaluation of your goals with your supervisor, but ultimately, the purpose is to give yourself a kickstart to progress positively into the second half of the year. A reflection of your professional (and personal, should they overlap) goals to determine how far you’ve come in recent months, where you’re at now, and what you need to do to successfully move forward.

The New Year: How to Set Effective Goals

Last week we discussed the common tradition of setting goals and resolutions at the start of the new year. In the workplace, establishing regular objectives is a necessary part of accomplishing all we have to do (both in the short and long-term), but there are ways to effectively set those goals to ensure you are held accountable and stay on track to reach those end goals.

Simply setting a goal isn’t always the best way to achieve that end result. You have to create a road map of sorts, detailing how you are going to get from point A to point B. This can be done through setting additional objectives (consider these mini or sub goals) and key results (what you’re specifically going to do to make sure those objectives happen) needed to accomplish your goal.

For example, say your overall goal is to have a more organized office at work. How are you going to get there? What steps do you need to take to ensure that this goal is achieved in the most efficient way possible? To illustrate this method of goal setting more clearly:

Goal: To have a more organized office at work.

Objective: Declutter and purge excess “stuff” out of and on top of the desk.

Key Results: Set aside an afternoon once a month/every other month to clean out desk drawers of excess accumulation, clean and dust surface areas, and remove anything not used on a daily basis from the desktop (e.g., file, store, trash, or recycle).

Objective: Eliminate piles of excess paperwork.

Key Results: Take 30 minutes a week (or more depending on the amount of paperwork accumulated) to scan and shred paperwork that can be electronically stored and archived. File paperwork that requires hard copies to be saved.

By establishing these steps to accomplish your overall goal, you are more clearly defining what you need to do which keeps all your ducks in a row and makes it easier to get to the finish line. Consider implementing this new take on the goal setting process into your own routines, or as part of the performance review process for your employees.

A New Year, A New Paradigm

Last week, we discussed the importance of resolutions in our professional lives and how setting goals, objectives, and good workplace habits throughout the year can help ensure productivity and can help improve your professional image and reputation. (more…)