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Under Commit In 2019 – Make New Year’s Resolutions and Set Goals That Set You Up to Win

Tis’ the season to over commit.

It’s the start of a new year, when many of us begin thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. We vow to lose 20 pounds, save 10% of our income, get promoted at work, take an exotic vacation, be a better partner, etc. etc. Also known as “how to set yourself up to fail” in five easy steps.  The reality is, we might do one or two of those things, if that.

Why not set yourself up to win instead? Instead of setting huge goals that are unlikely to happen, why not set more realistic goals that you can and will likely do?

If you manage people, perhaps you’re thinking about how you can be a better manager in 2019. Or you may be thinking about how you can accelerate your career. You may decide to meet with your employees more frequently, or ask your boss for more feedback, or ask for new and different work. You may think that doing these things will help you strengthen your relationships with your employees and your reputation, and advance your career. Doing any of these things might help you strengthen your business relationships and help you get ahead. But they might not, if those things are not important to your employees, your boss and/or your organization.

In 2019, put energy and resources into the things that truly matter to the people you work with, rather than the things you think they think are important. And the only way to know what the people around you really want and need, is to ask them.  Don’t assume you know what is important to your boss, direct reports and coworkers, ask them. Ask more. Assume less.

There are countless examples of managers who went to great lengths to make their employees happy. They gave bonuses, cool projects, and time off. And their employees quit anyway. Or, trying to make a manager happy, employees stayed late, beat deadlines, and took on additional work, and still got a mediocre review. Rather than doing what you think others want, ask them!

How about this for a New Year’s resolution — ask your boss, direct reports and key customers these questions as you begin the New Year:

  1. What’s the most important work I did in the past 12 months?
  2. What’s an area, in 2018, I exceeded your expectations?
  3. How did I let you down?
  4. If I could do one thing differently this year that would make the biggest difference for you and/or the organization, what would it be?
  5. Where do you think I should focus my energy in 2019?

It may be intimidating to ask for feedback from your peers and direct reports. But you won’t know what to do more, better, or differently if you don’t ask.

The right answer to feedback is always “thank you,” regardless of what you really want to say.  Saying “thank you” makes you a safe person to whom to tell the truth and makes it more likely you’ll get more information in the future. So bite your tongue and respond to all feedback with, “Thank you for telling me that. I’m going to think about what you’ve said and may come back to you to discuss further.” They’ll be relieved, and you’ll strengthen your professional image.

It’s easy to assume what others want and are expecting from us. The problem is, we’re not always correct. Thus we expend energy doing things that others don’t find valuable or important, otherwise known as wasting time and resources.

Your time and budget dollars are valuable. Use your time and money for things that others actually want, versus what you think they want. In 2019, dial it back. Make realistic, attainable goals that are aligned with what the people around want and need. And in return, you too will get what you want and need.

Setting goals at work


Under Commit In 2013 – Make New Year’s Resolutions and Set Goals That Set You Up to Win

Under commit in 2013Tis’ the season to over commit.

It’s almost January 1st, when many of us begin thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. We vow to lose 20 pounds, save 10% of our income, get promoted at work, take an exotic vacation, be a better partner, etc. etc. Also known as “how to set yourself up to fail” in five easy steps.  The reality is we might do one or two of those things, if that.

Why not set yourself up to win instead? Instead of setting huge goals that are unlikely to happen, why not set more realistic goals that you can and will likely to do?

If you manage people, perhaps you’re thinking about how you can be a better manager in 2013. Or you may be thinking about how you can accelerate your career. You may decide to meet with your employees more frequently, or ask your boss for more feedback, or ask for new and different work. You may think that doing these things will help you strengthen your relationships with your employees and your reputation, and advance your career. Doing any of these things might help you strengthen your business relationships and help you get ahead. But they might not, if those things are not important to your employees, your boss and/or your organization.

In 2013, put energy and resources into the things that truly matter to the people you work with, rather than the things you think they think are important. And the only way to know what the people around you really want and need is to ask them.  Don’t assume you know what is important to your boss, direct reports and coworkers, ask them. Ask more. Assume less.

There are countless examples of managers who went to great lengths to make their employees happy. They gave bonuses, cool projects, and time off. And their employees quit anyway. Or, trying to make a manager happy, employees stayed late, beat deadlines, and took on additional work, and still got a mediocre review. Rather than doing what you think others want, ask them!

How about this for a New Year’s resolution — ask your boss, direct reports and key customers these questions as you begin the New Year:

  1. What’s the most important work I did in the past 12 months?
  2. What’s an area, in 2012, I exceeded your expectations?
  3. How did I let you down?
  4. If I could do one thing differently this year that would make the biggest difference for you and/or the organization, what would it be?
  5. Where do you think I should focus my energy in 2013?
  6. It may be intimidating to ask for feedback from your peers and direct reports. But you won’t know what to do more, better, or differently if you don’t ask.

The right answer to feedback is always “thank you,” regardless of what you really want to say.  Saying “thank you” makes you a safe person to whom to tell the truth and makes it more likely you’ll get more information in the future. So bite your tongue and respond to all feedback with, “Thank you for telling me that. I’m going to think about what you’ve said and may come back to you to discuss further.” They’ll be relieved, and you’ll strengthen your professional image.

It’s easy to assume what others want and are expecting from us. The problem is we’re not always correct. Thus we expend energy doing things that others don’t find valuable or important, otherwise known as wasting time and resources.

Your time and budget dollars are valuable. Use your time and money for things that others actually want, versus what you think they want. In 2013, dial it back. Make realistic, attainable goals that are aligned with what the people around want and need. And in return, you too will get what you want and need.

Take advantage of the last day to get a free box of Candor Questions with a purchase of $75 or more candor products.


How to Ask For More Responsibility at Work – Be Careful

Most managers and career coaches will tell you that if you want to position yourself for advancement in your organization, you should ask for more –more work, more responsibility, and more exposure. And that’s true –sometimes.

Yes, if you want to develop new skills, learn, grow, and be seen in your company as someone who wants to and is capable of doing more, you should ask for more responsibility.

How to Ask For More Responsibility at Work

Before launching my business, I was a national director at a company headquarters. I led a department with 21 locations and 200 people. I had a big job. One of my peers who had an equally big job leading a different department left the company. He was not replaced. After several months of his role sitting vacant, it was clear that his job was not going to be filled.

I thought the department was important to the company’s success and needed a strong leader, so I offered to run it. I already had a big, time consuming job, and now I had another one that I had volunteered for.

There was lots of opportunity to make improvements in the department I was now leading. The department needed an overhaul – different jobs, different staff, different processes and procedures. And type-A, workaholic girl was just the person for the job.

I spent six months revamping every process, procedure, and job description and trying to get my recommended changes approved. After six months of trying to make change happen, I realized that my boss wasn’t going to support my recommended changes. He blocked everything I wanted to do because changes can cost money. And he didn’t want to spend money on this department. Let me clarify, the company didn’t want to spend money on the department. The company’s most senior leaders didn’t see the department as integral to the company’s financial performance, and thus the department was not important.

I should have realized that our senior leaders didn’t see the department as important BEFORE I asked to run it. A large job, led by a senior person, is not replaced, when there is no hiring freeze in place. When a company is creating new jobs and filling vacant jobs, but chooses not to backfill a senior leader, it’s because the job wasn’t seen as necessary.  I thought it was necessary. My boss and his boss disagreed. And I couldn’t get them to think otherwise.

I am a change agent. If you want to keep your status quo, I am not the person to bring in. We will both be frustrated. My old boss did not want me to make changes to the department I took on. He didn’t think the department was important. And I didn’t see it until after I’d invested six months of my time, passion, and energy.

How to Ask For More Responsibility at Work

Every company has non-strategic and not-so-interesting work. To some extent, all employees ‘wash windows’. But don’t ask to wash windows when you can put your energy into an area that is seen as integral to the success of the business.

Ask questions and be knowledgeable of your organization’s short and long term goals. Look around for juicy work that moves the company closer to those goals. Don’t take work that the people at the top don’t think is important. You’ll be tired and frustrated.


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