Goal setting is something that does not come naturally to me. I’ve always thought that setting goals was a bit “wishy-washy” and that if you wanted to do something, just get in and do it. Why did you need to talk about it, write it down and explain the steps? In my mind, that was wasting valuable doing time!

I then entered the professional workforce and realised just how important goal setting can be. Whether it is a task list for the day, weekly goals to tick off or wildly important goals for the next year or two, goals help keep you focussed, motivated and leads to your success.

What is interesting is seeing how goal setting is being used during COVID-19.

Personally, I set daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly goals on our own platform My Employee Life and it was interesting to look back from now (the end of our quarter) to when I set my goals at the beginning of March. Let’s just say, I was WAY off! At the beginning of March, I was still in the office full-time, as were all my clients and COVID-19 was something on the news but not something that had taken full effect on my personal or work life. What a crazy 3-months that it’s been!

Just because my goal became useless and way off the mark, does that mean it was a wasted exercise to set it? I don’t think so.

What became increasingly evident at Optimum was how we as an office changed our goals, adapted with our environment and reset our expectations. As an office, we took the approach of setting short-term, weekly goals for everyone to contribute to. Bring in X amount of new opportunities (Recruitment, outplacement services, engagement surveys or salary benchmarking) and close Y amount of opportunities. We even took it a step further and challenged ourselves as individuals to make a certain number of phone calls per day. This was a multi-pronged approach, to spur on our competitive juices, to give us something to work towards each day and it was a proven method of getting results (good old hard work!).

The short-term goals were set publicly in our office, progress was tracked, and wins were celebrated. These goals were reported on at the end of the week and reset for the week ahead. Not only did this keep us all accountable, but it also enabled us to be nimble and make our goals more accurate and therefore, more powerful. It also helped having a platform that we could see our progress, refer back to and communicate with each other when we were all working from different places.

Part of a recent conversation with my manager included me asking him,

“I’ve been focused on these short-term goals, but now that we are coming back to the office and things are starting to open up, what now?”

He and I both agreed that we needed to set and focus on 3, 6 and 12-month goals as well as continue with the short-term weekly goals that had been so successful for us recently. This may sound like a lot of talks and wasted “doing time” but truth be told, it makes the doing time so much more effective and puts you well and truly in front in the long run.

So many individuals, teams and business fall into the trap of not adapting their goals and not resetting when there have been changes.

Many also don’t see the value in looking beyond the here and now.

Setting measurable, realistic goals that push teams to perform is a sure-fire way to improve performance and get through tough times like we are currently experiencing. It also gives individuals something that they can control and work towards. Given the amount of unknown we are experiencing with things like closed borders and restrictions on patronage, people are craving something clear, measurable and something that they can proactively work towards.

Have you had these conversations with your team? Have you asked your manager what their goals are either for you or for the team?

Reach out to one of our Consulting team at Optimum and we can use our expertise to talk you through a simple way of setting yourself up for success.

Remember the old saying, “If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail!”

Isaac Dufficy
Executive Consultant, Group Solutions

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