Very few employees get up in the morning and say “Boy – I wish I could mess something up at work today”. Instead, most employees walk into work with every intention of doing their best and making an impact with the desire to leave at the end of the day with a feeling of accomplishment. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. Despite the best intentions of the employee, goals aren’t always met and this could impact their performance evaluation.
The question is: what can you, as the employee, do to change this? There are no surefire solutions, but using specific GOALS techniques, you may be able to do yourself a lot of good! These techniques include:
Owning the Goal
Align with the Company
Letting Others Know
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” ~Alan Lakein
As you are provided with goals to work for, get clarification if they are not the traditional “SMART” goals – ones that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. You want goals that are not subjective, but can be measured by anyone at anytime without any variation. For example, if your boss tells you that you have a goal of being punctual, make sure you understand what the definition of punctual means. Is it 95% on time in the morning every business day or is it being on time for meetings? How will it be measured and who will be doing the measuring?
Assure your boss you’re not trying to be nitpicky – but you do need to know exactly what you’re going to be measured against so you can make sure you meet your goals. In addition, if you can measure the goals yourself and if you find yourself getting close to the not-passing line, you can make changes in your own behavior to keep yourself on the passing-side of the line without being surprised at the end of the year.
Own the Goal
“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.” ~Jerry Rice
As you work towards your goals, own them! Make them yours. One of the best ways to own your goal is to prioritize your tasks. Take a look at everything you have to do and make sure you are picking the tasks that help you meet your goals. If you are not, create an action plan with milestones and monitor your own progress.
You must also be accountable. This means that owning up to mistakes and recognizing areas in which you can get better. No action plan will ever get completed without a few missteps. The sooner you own up to those missteps, the sooner you can correct them. This also lets your boss know that you are pro-active.
Above all – be positive. Know that you will succeed at meeting your goals if you work hard enough and keep your eyes on the finish line!
Align with the Company
“The most successful people are those who are good at plan B.” ~James Yorke
It’s been said that too many employees don’t understand where they fit in. It’s like being part of a football team, knowing your job is to catch the ball, but not knowing which goal is yours.
Aligning yourself with the company means determining where you fit in. If your company sells red widgets, write down what it is you do that contributes to the sale of red widgets. Perhaps you work supporting sales activities or perhaps you distribute the mail. Understand that no job is too small or inconsequential when it comes to the company succeeding.
Also, recognize that the company is more than just your boss and what he wants. He also has goals and must report to someone else who has their own goals to meet.
What this means is that you must also be flexible. Goals can change mid-year as external factors change. Your company may get a new competitor or may decide to sell blue widgets instead. If a goal does change, work with your boss to make sure he knows you won’t meet the original stated goal, but you will meet the one that is much higher prized.
Letting Others Know
“I discovered I always have choices and sometimes it’s only a choice of attitude.” ~Judith M. Knowlton
You want to let others know about your successes. This doesn’t mean becoming a narcissistic braggart, but it is important to show others the contribution you are making. Be fair and professional, but let’s face it: everyone in the company is busy and your accomplishments may slip by without notice. That does you no good.
The best way to do this is to keep a record. Perhaps it’s something you can keep up to date on a month-to-month basis or a project basis. During meetings with your peer group or with your boss, make sure to reference your notes and mention what it is you are doing to help in your group’s success.
Keep positive feedback from customers. Even if the company doesn’t always reward you, reward yourself. Strive to be a role model so that others will use you as the person to emulate.
“It’s not so much how busy you are, but why you are busy. The bee is praised; the mosquito is swatted.” ~Marie O’Conner
Talk to your boss, your co-workers and especially – listen attentively when customers talk. No one is perfect and there’s always ways you can improve yourself and your work environment.
Seeking feedback also means to proactively ask for help or suggestions. Co-workers often will provide helpful hints or best-practice steps that have worked for them in the past. Your boss may provide clarification on direction or help with some additional training or development.
Most of all – surround yourself with those who are achieving their goals. You are influenced more than you know by the people you surround yourself with.
By using some very straight forward GOALS techniques, you can drastically increase your chances of success in your organization. It may take some time and practice before you are comfortable with the techniques, but you will definitely see the benefit as you put them into practice.