“New Year’s Day now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.” ~ Mark Twain
With all the talk and jokes about New Year resolutions going around I thought I’d take a look at what my resolutions would look like this year if I modeled them after my work-based annual commitments. As such they would need to be SMART goals:
Specific: Goal objectives should address the five Ws… who, what, when, where, and why. Make sure the goal specifies what needs to be done with a timeframe for completion. Use action verbs… create, design, develop, implement, produce, etc. Example: resolve accounting discrepancies within 48 hours.
Measurable: Goal objectives should include numeric or descriptive measures that define quantity, quality, cost, etc. How will you and your staff member know when the goal has been successfully met? Focus on elements such as observable actions, quantity, quality, cycle time, efficiency, and/or flexibility to measure outcomes, not activities. Example: secure pledges from ten new donors by the end of each week.
Achievable: Goal objectives should be within the staff member’s control and influence; a goal may be a “stretch” but still feasible. Is the goal achievable with the available resources? Is the goal achievable within the timeframe originally outlined? Consider authority or control, influence, resources, and work environment support to meet the goal. Example: obtain the XYZ professional certification within two years.
Relevant: Goals should be instrumental to the mission of the department (and ultimately, the institution). Why is the goal important? How will the goal help the department achieve its objectives? Develop goals that relate to the staff member’s key accountabilities or link with departmental goals that align with the institutional agenda. Example: develop and implement a diversity recruitment plan that increases the number of diversity candidates by ten percent.
Do more than my share: Go above and beyond what is expected of me. Find new ways to do things that will improve the business/home and make life easier for those I care about. This goal will be considered to have been met if even one person notices and exceeded if more than one person notices. Possible mentors include Tim Toyshima, Julie Werth, and Ray Guyll.
Bring home the bacon: Don’t be satisfied with my station in life. Strive to become valued and respected by most people I deal with. Innovate, work hard, and impress so that my team/s can’t imagine me leaving. This goal will be considered to have been met if I can retire at 65 and exceeded if I can retire by the end of this year. Possible mentors include John Gess, Deb Morseth, and Bill Sheehan.
Think before I speak: Gawd, this is hard. I have so many friends that do this well, that I don’t have to look far for examples. I’ve always tried to speak as if the person I’m talking about is standing behind me. But now I need to limit what I say to those few things that really need to be said. I need to become a world-class listener. This goal will be considered to have been met if I get a raise this year and exceeded if I get a level increase at work. Possible mentors include Jim Glass, Sr., Molly Pond, and Mark Hirayama.
Improve on those things I love to do: Life is about doing the things you love well. Narrow my attempts to improve to areas that have meaning to me. Read, study, practice, and strive to meet higher goals of performance. Separate the chaff from the wheat, and then double or triple the time spend preparing for performances, showings, and commitments. Accept constructive criticism and become a little less thin-skinned. This goal will be considered to have met if a teacher, mentor, or co-worker comments upon the improvement and exceeded if I get a standing ovation. ;0) Possible mentors include Charlie Wickham, Tina Touburen, and Merlin Williams.
See, this is hard to do and I didn’t me the specificity required in all cases. Maybe that’s because the four areas of improvement I chose cross boundaries for work, home, and other activities. Given time and effort, I could list my specific tasks (from my TO-DO list) such as recruiting, creating, practicing, and performing in a sax quintet (vice quartet that we have now) this year. That would be a first for me. But I suspect that the task-level goals are a lot more boring for my casual readers.
What are your top three goals for 2013? Be well.