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Posts Tagged ‘setting goals’

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


Career Goals – Know When to Quit

When I was leading Leadership Development for OppenheimerFunds I told my boss, the head of HR, that one of my career goals was to be an HR generalist. He said, in his lovely British accent, “Shari, you’re very good at what you do, and you would be a terrible generalist. You will never be a generalist here.” At the next company, I also told the hecareer goalsad of HR that one of my career goals was to be an HR generalist, and he too said, “You would be a terrible generalist. You won’t have that role here.” I could have left that company and chased my desire to be a generalist, or I could have listened to people who saw something I didn’t. I listened.

Sometimes others can see things we can’t and it makes sense to listen. That’s actually my definition of a coach – someone who can see things that we can’t, and they’re willing to tell us.

If you’re serious about achieving your career goals, consider these six practices:

  1. Identify what you want to do.
  2. Share your career goals with people who can help you achieve them.
  3. Ask people you trust and those in a position to help you achieve your career goals what may prevent you from having what you want. Obstacles might be organizational (i.e. the job you want doesn’t exist at your company) or they might be personal (i.e. you don’t have the skills, acumen, or temperament for the job you want).
  4. Work to develop skills you’re missing.
  5. Accept things that might prevent you from getting what you want, i.e. I don’t have the temperament to be an effective HR generalist, and I never will.
  6. Decide when to stop pursuing a goal. Make peace with that decision. And move on to something equally, if not, more compelling.

Most of us were raised to believe that quitting is taking the easy way out and that to quit is bad. I don’t know about that. Sometimes you have to listen to the feedback the world gives you and act accordingly.

career goals


Career Goals – Know When to Quit

Etip3.25.16When I was leading Leadership Development for OppenheimerFunds I told my boss, the head of HR, that one of my career goals was to be an HR generalist. He said, in his lovely British accent, “Shari, you’re very good at what you do, and you would be a terrible generalist. You will never be a generalist here.” At the next company, I also told the head of HR that one of my career goals was to be an HR generalist, and he too said, “You would be a terrible generalist. You won’t have that role here.” I could have left that company and chased my desire to be a generalist, or I could have listened to people who saw something I didn’t. I listened.

Sometimes others can see things we can’t and it makes sense to listen. That’s actually my definition of a coach – someone who can see things that we can’t, and they’re willing to tell us.

If you’re serious about achieving your career goals, consider these six practices:

  1. Identify what you want to do.
  2. Share your career goals with people who can help you achieve them.
  3. Ask people you trust and those in a position to help you achieve your career goals what may prevent you from having what you want. Obstacles might be organizational (i.e. the job you want doesn’t exist at your company) or they might be personal (i.e. you don’t have the skills, acumen, or temperament for the job you want).
  4. Work to develop skills you’re missing.
  5. Accept things that might prevent you from getting what you want. I.e. I don’t have the temperament to be an effective HR generalist, and I never will.
  6. Decide when to stop pursuing a goal. Make peace with that decision. And move on to something equally, if not, more compelling.

Most of us were raised to believe that quitting is taking the easy way out and that to quit is bad. I don’t know about that. Sometimes you have to listen to the feedback the world gives you and act accordingly.

career goals


2016 Goals – What If Your Primary Job Is to Be Happy?

2016 GoalsI always want to do things right and hate making mistakes. When I say or do things I wish I hadn’t done, I relive those scenarios way more than I care to admit, also known as obsessing. But maybe life isn’t about doing everything right. What if our primary job in life is to be happy?

I’m not making a list of 2016 personal goals, although I don’t think doing so is bad. Lots of people will set 2016 goals. If setting specific goals works for you, do it. Just don’t set yourself up to fail. You’re not likely to lose 30 pounds, save 20% of your income, start a not-for-profit, visit five new countries, and become a fantastic cook in one year. Maybe dial those 2016 goals back and pick two of them, but only if you enjoy working towards those goals.

Perhaps life isn’t about getting more done. Perhaps life is really about enjoying more.

If you want to set 2016 goals, I wouldn’t be opposed if they are:

  1. Have a job you love.
  1. Spend time with people who make you feel good.
  1. Speak your truth (nicely).

2016 Goal: Have a job you love. You don’t need to keep a job that doesn’t allow you to do work you enjoy and are good at. There are lots of jobs out there. Go get one you like.

2016 Goal: Spend time with people who make you feel good. Stop spending time with people you don’t like or who you don’t feel better after leaving their presence. Your discretionary time is limited. “I should maintain this friendship because we’ve known each other so long.” Or, “I should spend time with family members I don’t enjoy because it’s the right thing to do” is diminishing your happiness. Text those people occasionally and spend your time elsewhere.

2016 Goal: Speak your truth (nicely). People are more likely to quit a job and a relationship than to say what isn’t working and to ask for what they want. Fear less; speak more. When you speak from a desire to make things better and to strengthen relationships, there is little you can’t say, so start talking.

I won’t tell you not to save money, travel more, or become a gourmet cook. But what if your job in 2016 isn’t to do more? What if your primary job is to be happy? What would your 2016 goals be then?


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