Finished up your team goal-setting for the year? And moving on to individual goal-setting? Us, too! In case you’re feeling stuck, we thought we’d share Realized Worth’s internal goal-setting guide for individuals. Here’s hoping the process that works for us works for you, too!
In case you’d like to explore some of our sources yourself, when our CEO, Angela Parker, developed this guide she drew insight from various sources such as The Four Disciplines of Execution, SMART goals, The Table Group, and Traction. At Realized Worth and in the field of Social Impact, our intention is to set meaningful and personally motivating goals for ourselves and to understand how they connect to the goals of other teams and the company. By following these steps, we ensure that our goals are aligned with our responsibilities and priorities and are essential for the success of Realized Worth as a whole. You’ll likely want to adapt each step to what makes sense for you, so we’ve started with the principles that apply to everyone. If you take nothing else from this guide, the principles stand as great reminders for success in any goal-setting process!
Principles for Individual Goal-setting
Make it personal. We often call individual goal-setting at work “personal goal-setting” – even though it’s also professional – because it’s all about you! Who you are at work and what you want to achieve through work personal. If you set a goal that you would not care about if you didn’t work at your company, it’s the wrong goal. Make it personal.
Make it satisfying. When your goals are complete, they should feel satisfying. The point of goal-setting is not to create busy work. It’s not to have another thing to do or check something of the list. It’s so that you can say to yourself, “I know where I am. And I know where I’m going.” When your goals are complete, check in with yourself. How satisfied do you feel?
Make it flexible. We can only set our goals based on what we know today, so we have to remain flexible. Set your goals based on your current role and responsibilities, the current priorities of the company, and your current priorities for you – and then hold them lightly. Things change. Priorities shift. Keep your goals front of mind, evaluate them often, and adjust them when necessary.
(Having said that, some people need to set a goal to follow through on a goal. Just saying.)
Before you begin, we recommend easing into a creative mindset. Try to clear your clutter – both in your mind and around your workspace. Maybe even get out a blank piece of paper and some colored pens or markers. Give yourself a mental and physical blank slate and enjoy the process.
Step 1: Understand your responsibilities and priorities
- Take the time to reflect on what your job entails and what your priorities are both for the company and for yourself. This will help you set goals that are aligned with your role and the current priorities of the organization.
- Angela recommends starting with the question “What is your job?” and breaking down the responsibilities and priorities that come with it. For example, Angela’s job is to be responsible for the success of Realized Worth, so she defines success as being year over year profitable, becoming an increasingly Transformative Workplace, and being accountable for thought-leadership and excellence.
Step 2: Define success for yourself and your company
- Consider what success means to you in your role and for the company as a whole. This will help you set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals.
- Angela recommends breaking down success into smaller categories and asking yourself what each category means conceptually. She then listed out the specific activities she needed to do under each category to make her goals feel more concrete.
Step 3: Break down your goals into smaller, actionable steps
- Once you have a clear understanding of your goals, think about the specific actions you need to take to achieve them. This will help you create a roadmap for success and make it easier to track your progress.
- Angela recommends creating a table with specific actions for each goal, and breaking down the actions per department (or category of responsibility) if applicable. This helps make the goals more actionable and easier to track progress.
Step 4: Set a goal to follow through on your goals (and yes, we’re being a little cheeky here, but…)
- If you struggle with follow-through, consider setting a specific goal around accountability and consistency. This could involve setting aside dedicated time to work on your goals, finding a accountability partner, or setting up reminders to help you stay on track.
- Angela recommends setting a goal around accountability and consistency to help with follow-through.
Step 5: Evaluate how your goals contribute to others’ objectives
- Consider how your goals impact or support the goals of your team and other teams within the company. If your goals are essential for others to achieve their objectives, this is a good sign that they are the right goals for you – but make sure the others know you understand their dependence on you and are committed to doing your part!
Step 6: Determine if your goals are achievable
- Think about whether you have what you need to achieve your goals. This includes people, budget, training, and any other resources that may be required.
- Angela recommends determining if your goals are achievable by considering whether you have the necessary resources and support. She also recommends considering whether you need formal training to complete your goals.
Step 7: Clarify what “done” looks like for each goal
- Make sure you have a clear understanding of what it means for each goal to be completed.
- Angela recommends specifically articulating what “done” looks like for each goal to help track progress and know when you have reached your objectives. She notes that some goals themselves may not feel concrete enough, but the activities listed under each goal make them feel more concrete.
Step 8: Identify any potential barriers to achieving your goals
- Consider any potential challenges or obstacles that could prevent you from achieving your goals. This could include things like timelines, dependencies on other teams, or potential setbacks.
- Angela notes that while setbacks may not be ideal, they may be acceptable if they are not too severe. She also recommends considering dependencies on other teams and ensuring that you are checking in to ensure that your goals are being utilized.
Step 9: Determine what will help you achieve your goals
- Reflect on what personal resources or support you will need in order to successfully complete your goals. This could include things like self-care, coaching, or other forms of support.
- The resources and support you set up in your personal life will power your ability to achieve your goals. Angela notes that she is currently focusing on creating the conditions in her personal life that give her the wisdom necessary to make hard decisions, set good boundaries, and trust her team.
- (Don’t skip this step! It’s an easy one to dismiss, but in 3-6 months you’ll be wishing you had thought it through!)
We hope this guide has been helpful in setting your personal goals this year! Remember, we are working together this year to raise the bar in the field of Social Impact – that means all of us! As we align the various departments and initiatives that contribute to Social Impact, organize the strategic goals of our departments, and set personal goals that make success truly attainable, we are improving the expectations and outcomes of our entire space. If you’re concerned that your engagement numbers are down, simple steps like this are the right place to start. Need help polishing up your Social Impact goals? Give us a call! We’re here to help.