As 2021 comes to an end, it’s important that as a leader you take the time to reflect on the past year and realize how goal setting can have a profound impact on your year-end results.
You might assume that reflecting on the previous year is a waste of your time. I’m sure most of you have already had your end-of-year performance evaluations or bonus reviews and because those have passed there’s no need to reflect on your performance a second time.
However, by doing this on your own, without your bonuses or your job performance rating hanging over your head, you can truly hone in on what you did well this past year, what you need to improve on and how you can improve it, not for someone else, but for you.
As Jeffrey Benjamin once said, “Accountability is the measure of a leaders height.”
Goal Setting for 2022
If you set goals for yourself, the only one that can truly hold yourself accountable for reaching them or not reaching them is you. That’s the mark of a true leader.
So, I ask you this.
- Did you achieve all the goals you set for 2021?
- If not, what prevented you from achieving them?
- How can this help you as you set your goals for the year ahead?
It’s important that we set realistic goals that help us to grow as individuals, improve the organization we work for and hold us accountable. That’s why, when you write down your goals for 2022, I want you to follow the SMART goals method of goal-setting.
This method is a tried and trusted method of ensuring your goals are set up properly from the beginning. The number one mistake most leaders make is setting unclear or unrealistic goals. I want to make sure you don’t fall for that trap.
What exactly are SMART goals?
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.
By evaluating each of these 5 sections while setting your goals, you can make sure you’re set up for success from the very beginning.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these 5 sections.
A specific goal should be one that answers the five “W” questions:
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Why is it important?
- Who will be involved?
- Where will it take place?
- Which resources are required/which barriers will I need to overcome?
By answering these five questions you will be able to see the full scope of what’s involved in achieving your goal, from the end-goal itself to all of the obstacles you’ll need to face along the way.
A measurable goal is one that has a clear method of tracking progress. What metrics can you use to identify how close you are to reaching your goal? When you’ve reached your goal, what will those metrics look like? Remember, you’ve got to be specific. Setting clear guidelines for your measurable goals will be a huge help when you’re re-evaluating your goals throughout the year.
Set benchmarks for yourself along the way. Identify why or why you’re not meeting those benchmarks and constantly be adjusting!
An achievable goal is one that’s realistic given your current situation. If you made $200,000 in sales last year and your goal for this year is $5,000,000.. that may not be the most realistic goal.
Sure, you can set high standards for yourself and “shoot for the stars” if you will, but setting a realistic or achievable goal doesn’t have to mean once that goal is reached you have to stop.
I would recommend evaluating the past few years to identify any trends before setting a specific target. If it helps, you can also set stretch-goals which can be used in the event you surpass your original goal.
Evaluate your constraints, identify trends, and set stretch goals to create an achievable goal.
This step is arguably the most important of the five.
A relevant goal is one that’s important to you. It’s a goal that will place emphasis on achieving something that reflects your values. By making sure the goals you put in place are relevant to your true desires, you can give yourself extra motivation to make sure you reach them.
The final step in the process.
By setting yourself benchmarks or specific dates to achieve your goals, you can hold yourself accountable throughout the entire process.
It’s extremely difficult to set a goal and hold yourself accountable if you don’t have a strict timeline to reach it.
By setting a deadline for your goals you can also ensure your long-term goals maintain priority over your short-term tasks.
Set a date, set target dates along the way to check your progress and do not miss a deadline.
Follow Through on Your Goals
Once you’ve set your goals, the hard part begins.
As a leader, it’s your job and your responsibility to ensure the goals you’ve set are met. There will be times when you run into speedbumps you didn’t see coming and there will be times you start to doubt whether the goals you set were achievable in the first place.
That’s all a part of the process.
By taking your SMART goals seriously, you can remove all doubt in your mind because you can be sure you’ve set goals that are achievable, you can revisit the roadblocks you knew you would run into and adjust for the ones you didn’t see coming and you can revisit your relevant points to regain perspective when you begin to doubt yourself.
Let’s make 2022 a great year for you and your team and if you need executive coaching, you know where to go.