Karl from tenfold.com reached out to me regarding this article from last year, and found it valuable. So, I thought I would repost it for you. Also, Ten Fold has an article on the same topic you will find useful as well. Please click here and take a look. Enjoy!
Goal development is an integral component for personal, professional, and organizational success. Goals drive direction to produce a result. Without a goal it is impossible to know where you are going. It would be like getting into your car and driving without a destination; there is no point in doing so. Now, my wife used to get into her car and just drive without a destination. But in this case, she just wanted to get out on her own and just think. The goal was not the destination, rather the opportunity to process her thoughts.
Have you ever heard someone say that they do not create goals, that way they cannot fail? Maybe even you have said this. The idea is, without a goal there is no chance of failing since there is no targeted result. This is a “wing it” type of lackadaisical attitude towards achieving something. This attitude is often aimed at some form of personal development preceded by a past failure.
The reality is most people create goals (sometimes subconsciously) to accomplish something. “I am not going to do anything today” is still a goal, with the result of accomplishing nothing. People with the idea of “no goal making for me” or often referring to a stretch goal such as a college degree or losing a few pounds. In the work place, this could be increasing sales by 10% each quarter, taking on a new routine task, or improving a process and reducing paper usage.
So we know goals are important, but what is a good goal to set and how is it developed? The acronym SMART has been used to help guide the goal development process. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. The SMART process is a great way to clearly identify the goal, how to know when it has been achieved, and some important characteristics of the goal.
Let’s define SMART
A goal must be as specific as possible. Instead of losing weight or increasing sales, you want to lose 15 pounds in 3 months by going to the gym 3 times per week or increase sales by 10% in 45 days by contacting 10 more potential clients per week. Some goals are a bit more challenging to specify, but the more clear the desired result is, the easier it will be to monitor and assess. Answer the 5 W’s (who, what, when, where, why) to help the goal become more specific.
A goal must be measured otherwise it is impossible to identify if progress is being made or when the goal is achieved. Measuring progress becomes some level of accountability and helps you remain focused on what is important. A measureable goal includes how many or how much and identifies what success looks like. The goal to lose 15 pounds in 3 months could be measured by checking weight loss each month and tracking the frequency of working out. Success looks like 15 pounds lost in 3 months.
A goal must stretch the individual or organization enough to make them work hard, but not so far as to cause unnecessary stress and strain. The goal should be just out of “arms reach.” Too far out and the goal is not likely attainable but too close and the goal will not stretch the individual or organization. An easy goal for someone in sales may be an increase of 10%, a stretch goal may be 25%, and an unattainable goal may be 50%. It is up to the individual or organization to determine what is just out of arms reach. The purpose of a goal is to stretch the individual or organization. This could require more time, training, finances, or a change of attitude.
A goal must be relevant to the person, project, or organizations mission. For example, if an organizations objective is to reduce paper usage across the state by 50% in the next fiscal year, an appropriate goal would be to develop an automated workflow to create and process PDF forms instead of printed forms and increase registered users by 2,000 each quarter.
Additionally, they must be relevant to the individual or organizational conditions. Using the same paper reduction example above, if the cost to become a registered user exceeds the budget of their target audience, then the goal of 2,000 users might not be relevant (or realistic, another “R” word used in the SMART acronym).
A goal must have a suspense. A suspense is the benchmark for which success can be assessed. A lack of a suspense results in a lack of urgency and potential failure.
To wrap it up
Whether you are looking to lose a few pounds, increase sales, or reduce your paper use, a goal may be simple or complex, long in duration or brief, involve an individual or organization. The most important fact to realize is that goals are meant to be achieved.
This was originally posted on our blog about a year ago. I am generally not a fan of recycling posts, but as you know, repetition is the key to learning and some issues are worth addressing again. I recently attended a class and an area of contention was the differences and importance of efficiency and effectiveness. So, in response to that discussion, here I address and discuss the differences. Enjoy.
Many of us have said something like, “I am an efficient and effective leader, capable of leading teams to extraordinary achievements…” For some, these are just buzzwords used in an attempt to sound intelligent but often come across as, well, something else. For others, these “buzzwords” are true definitions of who they are and how they lead, but they cannot explain what it truly means. What does it mean to be an efficient leader? What does it mean to be an effective leader?
Efficiency and effectiveness are often used synonymously but are in reality a bit different. Efficiency can be attributed to the time or rate which something is accomplished, whereas, effectiveness is the accuracy or quality of the accomplishment. Which is more important?
(Added content to increase understanding). If you were planning to climb a mountain within 7 days, you would find the right people to guide the way, pack the right equipment, ensure your team were physical fit, and plan your path to the top. You then set out on your journey and make it to the top in 5 days – that is 2 days ahead of schedule! This is efficiency. However, you realize you climbed the wrong mountain! Climbing the right mountain is effectiveness.
Here is an example to illustrate the difference between the two.
It is appraisal time, you have 8 team members to evaluate, and you only have 8 hours to do them all, among your other tasks. So, you spend an hour developing a quality appraisal and you copy and paste your information into each of the remaining 7 appraisals. You are able to deliver all 8 appraisals, including your face-to-face discussions, in less than 5 hours. Each team member receives an appraisal, and you have 3 extra hours to do what you want. This is efficiency.
Alternatively, you spend more time developing an honest appraisal for each team member and deliver the face-to-face discussion, all in 8 hours. You conduct your appraisals in this way as each team member performed a different function, had different goals and tasks, and performed to a higher or lesser degree of quality. Each team member understands his or her successes and areas to improve for next year, thus, a more accurate assessment. This is effectiveness.
Which appraisal method is better? Is it more important to be efficient or effective in this case? In reality, as the leader, you should be constantly evaluating your team and the final appraisal should be a relatively easy wrap-up, but that is a topic for another day.
A leader that accomplishes a task quickly is efficient. A leader that accomplishes a task accurately is effective. A leader that can do both is efficient and effective. Are you an efficient and effective leader, capable of leading teams to extraordinary achievements?
Next week I will add to this discussion by addressing expectations and quality as they affect what is perceived as efficient and effective.
Until next time.
The mountain climbing example was originally used here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140730001606-37049081-effective-vs-efficient
Last week I wrote about what a (business or life) coach is. This post is dedicated to why everyone needs a coach and what they can do for you. Professional athletes, who get paid millions of dollars to play a sport professionally, all have coaches. The coach serves as the person from the side-lines, observing the individual and team’s actions, and providing correction action, suggestion, and direction. In the same way, a professional (business or life) coach is there to help see what you cannot, for a number of reasons, provide suggestions, direction, and potential corrective action. The question is, do I really need a coach?
This can be challenging for several reasons:
A coach is there to see what you cannot. You may be too close to the situation to have an unbiased position, they are able to see things from a different perspective and provide insight otherwise left unseen, or may simply be better at something than you are and can help solve an issue by asking the right questions, providing new insight, or giving you a little nudge in the right direction.
Reasons why you may consider hiring a coach:
Number 3 (above) could be done in a number of ways – hiring a consultant to help resolve your issue, bringing on a new team member to fill a void, training for yourself or your team, etc. There are a several ways to accomplish your goal, a coach is another method (depending on what it is).
What to look for in a coach. Look for someone who:
Number 5 is a little tricky. There are some coaches out there that charge flat rates, per hour, or per project. If it is a project based fee, then this is really a consultant as they should be providing something tangible like a documented improved process, marketing plan, etc. Some are better than others. You may be charged $100-$1000 per hour (or more), or have a nominal (or significant) retainer. The reason it is tricky, is without the coach, could you have succeeded without them? Had you not paid the $2500 per month retainer for 6 months, would you have been able to improve your marketing return on investment by $500,000, or hired the right team and increased revenue by 30%? The question is, would you rather spend $5000 and earn $30,000 or spend $20,000 and earn $100,000?
How to be a good coachee:
Finding the right coach for your situation may be challenging but beneficial for you, your team, and your organization, no matter how large or small. I encourage you to consider to options and get yourself a coach.
What do you think about this? Do you have a coach? Are you a coach? Please share your experiences by posting your comments here.
Until next time…
You wake up in the morning, take a shower, brush your teeth, make some coffee, say good bye to your kids, kiss your spouse, and head out to work. During your commute to work, you begin planning your day to maximize your time at work, and serve your team more effectively. With 3 one-hour meetings, 1 presentation to prepare for, 4 follow-up calls to make, and seemingly endless emails to respond to, your day quickly fills up before even getting to work. No worries here, you are a highly efficient and effective leader, able to handle issues as they arise.
Then it happens. Your boss give you another week’s worth of work that must be completed in the next few days. On top of that, your team’s regulatory training is due by the end of the week, your monthly reviews are scheduled for Thursday… the list goes on. How do you handle the growing list of tasks and responsibilities that must be accomplished in what appears to be an impossible amount of time? Staying late at the office is not really an option as you have your son’s baseball game tonight and your daughter’s dance recital the next night. You are family-oriented so missing these events is not an option.
What do you do? Enter the concept of selective disobedience.
Here is how this works. As the leader of your team, you are responsible for what they do and don’t do. When your boss (manager, supervisor, or leader) gives you a task, generally it does not mean you do it, rather that you are responsible for making sure it is completed. To get more done, you train, enable, and empower your team, then delegate, follow up, and follow through.
When you are given an excessive number of tasks, you have the choice of doing them all okay or doing some of them very well. The “do less better” concept from last week. If you choose the first, then you will be mediocre at many things. If you choose the latter, then you will be excellent at some things and short on others. But this does not mean you will never get everything done (although it does not mean you will either). You and your team may get all of your tasks done, just not exactly when originally wanted. This is selective disobedience.
As the leader of your team, you must prioritize all of your work, and complete the most important tasks first. However, when you commit to accomplishing one task, you are also committing to not complete another (at least not right away). You must selectively disobey in order to prioritize and accomplish the most important and impactful tasks and responsibilities of you and your team. There will likely be some repercussion such as a “talking to” from your boss, but if you do your job well, and your leadership understands and respects you, then they will expect you to employ appropriate selective disobedience”.
How have you employed selective disobedience lately? Do you think you have never employed selective disobedience? Think back to the time where you chose to be late for a meeting because of another task from your boss or dropping a child off at school. Did you miss the budget submission deadline for another presentation?
Do you have a supervisor that does not understand, respect, or trust you? If or when you selectively disobey, you experience extreme repercussions – being yelled at, adverse counseling, written up, suspended, etc. Stay tuned for next week’s post on how to handle disruptive managers.
Confusing achievement with activity
Do you work in a corporate, non-profit, or small business office, spending countless hours hammering away at your keyboard sending emails or building presentations and talking to clients and co-workers, wondering where the day went? Busyness makes the day go by pretty quickly, but what does it produce? You see, producing is different than being busy. As leaders, we often get lost in the idea of producing and simply become busy. We lose focus and confuse achievement with activity.
Being busy during the day, such as sending those emails and building presentations, while important in many instances, simply occupies a lot of our (precious) time, and we end up focusing our efforts on the less important things. I know I have done it, delayed the one-on-one meeting with a peer or subordinate because I have an “important” presentation due. Truthfully, the presentation could be completed in half the time if done with intention and focus.
The reality is, the more time you give to accomplish something, the more time it will take to complete it. Think about an assignment in college, or a presentation for work. You have known about it for weeks, yet you wait until the last minute to start and complete it at the last second, so it took you the entire time allowed to finish. If the same assignment or presentation were due in 5 days, it would only take 5 days and not several weeks because you are not willing to fail. Make sense?
How does this affect how I lead others? Confusing achievement with activity…
How to focus on achievement and not activity.
Remember, achievement is a result of meeting a goal or producing a product on time. Activity is simply busyness. Don’t confuse achieving with being busy.
Jared W. Snow