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Business Growth
Feb 21, 2020

Setting, Measuring, And Achieving Leadership Goals

Sponsored Content provided by Lynn Whitesell - Managing Partner, Harris Whitesell Consulting

If You Want To Succeed, You Must Set Goals!
There is a reason why goals are so important. Goals push us to do better. Goals give us focus and direction. If you want to succeed you need to set goals. Goal setting allows you to take control of your life’s or company’s direction and provides you a benchmark for determining whether or not you are succeeding. By the end of 2020 you will have ended up somewhere. Will it be where you or your company wanted or needed you to be? 
Major Goal Categories
There are several types of goals. These include business goals such as increasing profitability, customer service, retention, efficiency, and growth; career goals such as increasing professional knowledge, improving work relationships, attaining new experiences, and honing leadership skills; and personal goals such as improving family relationships, financial stability, health and wellness.
Goal types can be interdependent on each other. For instance, if your family issues go unchecked, your ability to fully engage on the job could be impacted. If your personal development lags, you may lack the skills to be promotable. If your leadership behaviors are subpar, decreased employee engagement may cause you to fail on profitability.
Deciding Which Goals To Pursue
Start with strategy when deciding on which goals to pursue. Remember that the role of leaders is two-fold: helping drive near-term performance and ensuring long-term sustainability to prepare for the future. Your goals should reflect this!
One of the biggest challenges we face in setting and reaching our goals is that many of us have far too many goals going on at the same time. To avoid this “goal clutter” we need to reduce and reframe our goals. First, determine what is your BHAG – your big hairy audacious goal you want to achieve this year that will help you step into your vision of success? What are your biggest gaps or obstacles towards reaching this goal? What is most likely to cause you to fail or be less successful than you could have been? 
Then consider what truly motivates you. What are you willing to spend your discretionary effort on? Have you truly bought into the potential outcomes of reaching this goal? Only set goals that are so meaningful that you would allocate your precious time and valuable energy to them! Create a value statement for each goal by asking yourself, “If I were to share this goal with others, what would I tell them to convince them it was a worthwhile goal?”
Setting Goals
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must rigorously act. There is no other route to success.” – Pablo Picasso 

Goals should be SMART - Specific, Measurable, Actionable (and Attainable), Relevant (and Realistic) and Time Bound. Specific goals make it easy to get where you want to go by defining precisely where you want to end up.

Determining specific measures upfront helps you track progress and allows you the sense of accomplishment that comes with knowing that you have actually achieved something. Setting realistic, yet challenging goals, brings the greatest personal satisfaction. And of course, your goals must have a deadline.

It is important to divide a particularly complex or time-consuming goal into more manageable subsections. Identifying interim targets for your goals keeps you moving in the right direction. Small incremental wins are a very powerful incentive and create valuable momentum.

Measuring Progress And Achieving Goals
Measurement must be a key part of the goal strategy from the beginning – not an afterthought.  A good rule of thumb is to set two key performance metrics for each goal up front. Determine what you want to measure, figure out how to measure it, and obtain any necessary buy-in early in the process. When possible, use existing reporting systems/procedures with which you can monitor progress. Include precise amounts (in measures that make sense) and dates (by when exactly) in your goals so you can measure your degree of success. In order to show your improvement, you have to know your starting point, so it may be necessary to assess the current performance of your chosen improvement target.
Also, remember that many seemingly intangible goals can be restated in a measurable way. The unmeasurable, “communicate better with my team” may be restated as the easily measured, “hold 1:1 meetings with each team member bi-weekly.” Goals based on improving the ‘quality’ of your life such as improved relationships are more difficult, but not impossible, to quantify. Try relating the goal progress to a measurable unit – like time. For example, a goal focused on improving family relationships could be measured by the amount of quality time per day you spend with your children.
When thinking about how to achieve goals, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What skills do I need to achieve this?
  • What information/knowledge do I need?
  • What help, assistance or collaboration do I need?
  • What other resources do I need?
  • What can block my progress?
  • Am I making any assumptions?
  • Is there a better way of doing this?

 Maintaining Momentum, Commitment And Focus

To have an easier time maintaining your focus and momentum toward achievement, narrow down and set just a small number of impactful goals that relate only to your highest priorities.
Build in reminders to keep yourself on track and set aside time in your calendar to review your goals. When setbacks occur, it is important to remain focused, but flexible. Your end destination may remain quite similar over the long term, but the action plan you set for yourself along the way may change significantly. 

To maintain momentum, highlight small wins as they occur. Identify specifically what was accomplished, why it’s important, and how the success was achieved. Every win is one step toward momentum, and we usually reach big wins through a series of small wins. Goal achievement requires commitment, so to maximize the likelihood of success, you need to feel a sense of urgency and have an “I must do this” attitude.

Remember to use the motivating value statement you set for your goal to help you if you start to doubt yourself or lose confidence in your ability to actually make the goal happen.
9 Tips That Leaders Should Know
  1. Setting specific, difficult goals leads to higher performance
  2. High goals generate greater effort than low goals
  3. Tight deadlines lead to a more rapid work pace than loose deadlines
  4. Making a public commitment to a goal enhances personal commitment
  5. Setting goals in a clear and compelling way – and insisting that people work together to achieve them – is the best way to get results 
  6. Momentum towards the achievement of a few important goals is what keeps leaders and businesses successful over long periods of time
  7. To be a great leader and achieve goals, you must learn to delegate well
  8. It is important to build a development culture
  9. It is helpful to have a coach, mentor, accountability partner, or advisor to help keep you accountable and on track
Harris Whitesell Consulting is a business management consulting firm, headquartered in Wilmington NC. Our mission is to create partnerships that are based on trust, excellence and impact – from assessment to action. We specialize in accelerating, optimizing and maximizing talent, teams, leaders and business success! Our services include: assessments for personal, professional and organizational growth and development; executive, leadership, team and individual coaching; executive, team, professional and organizational development; culture and engagement; change and transitions; customer strategies; and speaking, keynoting and workshops. We develop, we coach, we advise. Call today for your complimentary consultation (833) 848-7845.

Lynn Whitesell is a global organizational effectiveness and development executive, management consultant, and executive coach – and co-founder and Managing Partner of Harris Whitesell Consulting, LLC. Both through HW Consulting, as well as her previous roles as global head of talent management and training & development for large global organizations over the past 25 years, she has helped create cultures that engage and perform, coached hundreds of executives, leaders and teams, and developed thousands of professionals around the world. Lynn helps clients challenge their current skill set and unlock untapped areas to become better leaders and team members. They appreciate how her energy, integrity, deep expertise and genuine passion for helping people become more successful create a positive and supportive environment for self-reflection and growth, enabling them to achieve measurable improvement in their own leadership behaviors and increased success of their teams and organizations.


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